Pop Quiz: What is the first thing your children say when they get home from school?
- “I love you!”
- “I missed you!”
- “Guess what I did at school today.”
- “I’m hungry!”
Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s right, 4. “I’m hungry!” is the correct answer. The truth is my kids tend to snack more than they eat meals. And the time between lunch and dinner, particularly right afterschool, is the worst. I’ve found it critical to my sanity to have quick, simple, healthy snacks on hand at all times. If they can easily prepare it, or even better just grab and go, then they are not constantly hounding me to make them something. Especially since I am probably already getting around to preparing dinner.
I try to limit them to one or two small snacks so they are still hungry when dinner gets on the table. The following is a list of foods I always have on hand for the kids:
- String cheese
- Multigrain or wheat crackers
- Yogurt (plain is best, but low sugar, simple ingredient yogurts work in moderation)
- Frozen berries (no sugar added) for the yogurt
- Easy to grab pieces of fruit (i.e. apples, bananas, peaches, nectarines, etc.)
- Small bite-size veggies for dipping (i.e. baby carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, bell peppers, etc.)
- Nut butter
- Homemade trail mix
Making your own trail mix is so easy, not to mention healthier, tastier, and less expensive than store bought varieties. This is my go to recipe which the kids love. I make a large batch and then portion it into snack size bags for ease.
12oz plain granola (Back to Nature makes a good, quality one or you can make your own)
16oz dried, tart cherries (no high fructose corn syrup, low in added sugar)
12oz chopped walnuts
10oz dark chocolate chips (70% Cacao or greater is best)
Pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl, and toss to combine. Portion into small, snack size bags for easy grabbing (and so you don’t eat the entire bowl in one sitting.) Eat as is or sprinkle on top of plain yogurt.