Most parents face the same dilemma: The kids come in from school hungry and tired, needing something to snack on to keep them going until dinner. On weekends, the same applies to those kids coming from whatever has kept them busy for the afternoon, be it organized sports, doing chores around the house, or even just messing around. However, you do not want to feed them the usual sugary treats and fruit has become boring. You want some healthy alternatives, and they want something fun. Here are seven options that you should consider for their afternoon snack that are quick, easy, and almost as fun to make as they are to eat.
The Obvious Catch-All: The Ultra-Simple Snacks
Admittedly, this is more a catch-all category than an actual recipe, but it is something that needs to be pointed out when kid-friendly snacks are brought up: Sometimes the best snacks are also the simplest. This is a plate of crackers, cheese, and possibly salami or sausage slices; it only takes a few minutes to prepare and provides a boost of protein and calcium. Celery and either cheese or peanut butter are another; it provides the crunch that kids are looking for and the healthy boost parents are looking for. Even carrots and a dip of some sort will work.
A Little Salsa Makes It Fun
One of the simplest recipes to play around with is a basic restaurant salsa. It is easy enough to make your own tortilla chips simply by cutting a couple of tortillas into wedges and then baking them; you can even make your own potato chips easily enough. A good salsa recipe gives you a lot to play around with, and you can also make any number of substitutes or even take some ingredients away; peppers are the usual victim here.
For those looking for some quick afternoon nachos, take some tortilla chips and cover with grated cheese. Cook in the microwave to melt the cheese, and then cover with salsa. If you need something more, you can always add in a dollop of sour cream. You can also substitute a good basic guacamole, but this template has a lot of nice options and you can have as much fun with it as you would like. It is also unlikely to go out style soon as it mixes the three basic kid needs of crunch, cheese, and color, and it is possible for older kids to make their own salsa.
You Do Not Always Need To Bake
If you want to prepare something ahead of time but just do not feel like cooking, sometimes a no-bake option is welcome. Something as simple as no-bake energy bite is a welcome change. For those looking for a gluten-free snack that is easy to prepare, this should hit that particular target with no problem, and because of the peanut butter and honey, they should disappear almost as soon as they appear. Keep in mind that they do take time in the freezer to set and should be kept refrigerated, but that coolness only increases their appeal on a hot day.
For those trying to get their kids to cook, these make for an excellent introduction to the world of cooking, Not only do these make for an excellent snack for kids coming off the court on a hot day, but the basic recipe can be played with somewhat, adding in fruits as desired to the mix. Something tart should be the fruit of choice, such as blueberries and raspberries, but any fruit can be added. These only take a few minutes to prepare and an hour to set making them an excellent afternoon snack.
Sometimes You Need To Take Things in Hand Yourself
One of the biggest differences between teenagers and younger kids is that younger kids like to build their own snacks. This makes fruit skewers an obvious choice. While some parents may be nervous about letting their children skewer fruit if you make the pieces big enough it becomes less of a danger. One of the major pluses to this is that allows the kids to be creative and have fun, so expect lots of “look at this!” moments.
This is also an excellent way to get your kids to eat all sorts of healthy fruits, as you will be using a number of different fruits. The biggest problem you will have is with kids that prefer one or two fruits over the others, but that is a relatively minor problem. Just makes sure that you have plenty of apples, melons, bananas, and grapes available and you should be fine. The yogurt dipping sauce also always for a variety of different options in case you want to shy away from cinnamon. For kids that are hard to please, this usually makes them very happy.
Trying Something From the Garden
Sometimes something simple is all that you need. Admittedly this requires a little more oven use than the other recipes, but with the right dips can be worth it. Also, it gives you an excuse to bring out your mandolin. Zucchini chips may sound a little strange at first, and it is possible that older kids may balk at the obviously healthy snack, but the salty crunch will be well worth their sacrifice. Throw in some sort of dip, such as ranch dressing, and you will have something that is sure to quickly disappear. Keep in mind that you can do this with other vegetables, most notably carrots and cucumbers if you want to change things up.
Sometimes It Is All About the Dip
Sometimes you will want to try some raw vegetables and have some fun with the dip; kids only have so much ranch dip, after all. Something to try is the green goddess dip. While it requires more preparation than most of the other options presented so far, that preparation is definitely well worth it. While the raw vegetables may make it a hard sale for some kids and the dip’s greenness may put them off of it, this is something that teenage girls will especially love, especially if they are in the middle of a diet. Smaller kids will also love it as it combines two of their great loves: raw vegetables and dipping.
Letting Them Think That They Are Cheating
Kids have a natural love for cheese, and so sometimes it can be nice to spoil them in that regard. Baked mozzarella bites are thus a natural reason to allow them that excuse. You can even make the marinara sauce if you so desire, or any other dip. While this requires a little extra preparation and can get pretty messy if you let it, this is also simple enough to cook with even a small kid, providing a nice little bonding moment.
Those options should help you to create some interesting afternoon snacks, allowing you to prepare successfully for even a crowd of hungry kids. You can always make recipe substitutions to deal with specific allergies and other issues. The recipes were chosen to provide a good range of options, usually to provide power during the afternoon. Keep in mind that child dietary needs and metabolisms are different from adults; an adult diet to lose weight will generally prove to be bad for children, and they need more calcium and carbohydrates to provide for growth. With that in mind, enjoy the recipes, and may the children enjoy them!