Satisfying your ravenous kids after they get off the school bus can be tricky. They’re rummaging through the pantry for a bag of chips, while you’re hoping they’ll somehow find the stack of raw veggies you plopped on a plate more appetizing. But putting together healthy snacks that are easy to make, tasty and won’t ruin your kid’s dinner appetite doesn’t have to be a losing battle.
Satisfy cravings with this sweet and savory snack. Start by taking a cored apple and slicing it into rounds, explains Lucia Schnitzer, owner of Luci’s Healthy Marketplace, an organic and specialty grocer in Phoenix, AZ. Next, spread almond butter on one slice and sprinkle it with granola. Then, top with an apple slice and gently press together to make a sandwich. Sunflower-seed butter may be used for those with nut allergies. “Almonds are rich in bone-building calcium and vitamin D and high in protein,” Schnitzer said. “Apples are high in fiber with natural sweetness.”
Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie
This cool and refreshing treat is perfect on a hot afternoon and is also a quick way to add more fruit and calcium into your child’s diet, Schnitzer says. She suggests starting with 1 cup of his favorite fruit, preferably organic, and blending it with ¾ cup yogurt and 1 cup milk, almond milk or fruit juice. For even more benefits, add vitamins, protein, flax seeds or even Chia seeds, Schnitzer recommends. “Chia seeds are a great supply of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost attention and cognitive improvements.”
Edamame Hummus Dip
Change up the usual veggie-and-dip habit with this exotic condiment. In a food processor, pulse together 1 ½ cups shelled and cooked edamame, 2 tablespoons water, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 garlic clove, 2 tablespoons tahini or sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. When well blended, drizzle in 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and continue to pulse until the dip is soft but not drippy, Schnitzer says. Salt to taste.
Swirly Turkey Wraps
For more substantial afternoon appetites, try these quick make-ahead mini-wraps. Start with a whole-wheat tortilla and spread 2 or 3 tablespoons of hummus almost to the edges. On top, evenly layer spinach, turkey and cheese, and place bell pepper strips and an avocado slice down the center. Roll up tightly, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces, secure with toothpicks and refrigerate until the kids come through the door. “This is a great source of protein, calcium, fiber, iron and Vitamin K to help recharge the body and protect growing bones,” Schnitzer said.
Toasted Whole-Wheat Pita Chips and White Bean Hummus
Make your own homemade chips by cutting whole-wheat pitas into wedges, drizzling with olive oil and baking at 400 degrees until crisp, explains Pauline Martinez, owner of Perk Eatery in Scottsdale, Arizona. Martinez uses white beans in place of the traditional chickpeas and processes them with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and fresh herbs. “Kids love to dip things, and this is easy, healthy and delicious.”
Graham crackers are a staple in every family pantry, and this is another way to devour them. Combine low-fat cream cheese or Greek yogurt, fresh blueberries, chopped bananas, honey and lemon zest. Pair it with the crackers, and you’re set. “This simple and delicious snack will be a fan favorite,” Martinez said. If your child is lactose-intolerant, try using soy or a vegan yogurt or cream cheese.
Sweet Potato Wedges
Create a homemade healthier version of the typical French fry: Cut sweet potatoes into wedges, drizzle with grape seed oil and season with salt or cinnamon sugar, depending on what your child is craving, Martinez suggests. Bake at 425 degrees until they are nice and crispy on the outside. “This is a sweet, healthy and delicious snack to carry kids over until dinner time,” she said. “What kid doesn’t love fries?”
Fruit Dipper Kabobs
When time is tight or you haven’t had a chance to go to the grocery store, this fast no-fuss treat can be made with ingredients you likely have in your refrigerator. Martinez recommends cutting up apples, bananas and strawberries and sliding them onto a bamboo skewer. “Kids love pulling them off one by one and dipping them into flavored yogurt or peanut butter,” Martinez says.