After a long day at school, kids are hungry, and refueling before diving into homework is a great way to keep them focused. But it isn't easy to find healthy, ready-to-eat snacks that each of your children actually wants to eat. So what's a parent to do? Get creative and make healthy snacks that you and your children will be so eager to eat you may end up hiding them for yourself!
1. Frozen Grapes
This one's easy. Step one: buy some organic grapes. Step two: wash grapes and remove from stems. Step three: freeze for later. This snack is so good that my toddler and preschooler would eat the entire bag in one sitting if I let them! (Just be sure to cut them for younger kids.) Bonus for moms: they do a great job replacing ice cubes in your favorite wine.
2. Baked Oatmeal
This snack is perfect for each of your kids because you can use their favorite fruits or nuts, making easy individualized snacks. This recipe is gluten-free, simple, and inexpensive. This snack works well for after school when topped with chocolate chips, or as a quick, loaded-with-fruit breakfast. This snack is naturally sweet and sure to please.
3. Pumpkin Brownies
Most kids (and parents) love brownies. But they aren't exactly healthy - unless you make them healthy. It's easier than you think. By substituting canned pumpkin for oil and eggs, you'll be cutting out the fat without cutting the flavor.
4. Ice Pops
We all love a frozen treat. But store bought ice pops can be loaded with artificial flavors and colors as well as high fructose corn syrup. So opt to make your own ice pops. Try making Mexican ice pops. They are denser than usual ice pops and are made with all natural ingredients including real, unstrained fruit of your child's choosing.
5. Whipped Cream Sandwiches
This is a personal favorite, picked up from my dieting days. Make your own whipped cream or buy your favorite brand. Simply put whipped cream between two graham crackers (I go for chocolate) and freeze for about an hour. Seriously good.
6. Yogurt With Granola and Fruit
This is easy. Just stock the freezer with frozen fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries or use fresh fruits if you have them on hand. Buy a tub of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt. At snack time, scoop the yogurt into a bowl and top with your child's favorite fruit. Add some granola for a yummy crunch.
7. Homemade Fruit Snacks
Fruit snacks are fun, but can be full of high fructose corn syrup. Instead, try making your own. For this homemade recipe, all you need is gelatin, fruit, water, applesauce, and fruit juice, and you can make your children the gummy snacks they love without all those added ingredients.
8. Homemade Granola Bars
Granola bars are another popular snack with kids, but the prepackaged kinds can be full of unnecessary ingredients. Instead, choose from one of the many online recipes and make a healthier version for your children. Whether they prefer chewy or crunchy, nuts or raisins, there's a recipe for everyone.
9. Chocolate and Peanut Butter Sandwiches
This may be one of those snacks you need to hide from yourself. Buy 80% cocoa chocolate bars and break into good-sized pieces. Smear natural peanut butter between two pieces and you have a high protein snack perfect for after-school.
Having these snacks on hand will make after-school snack time easy on you and the children. It may even motivate them to do their homework!