Quick & Easy Back to School Snacks

It’s back to school time and I think it’s fun to come up with some healthy, easy snacks, some of which, the kiddos can put together themselves. After all, it seems they’re always hungry! Back to school is a time for a fresh new start. New clothes, new routines, new seasons and weather. I always liked to roll out some different snacks just to keep the fresh start theme going.

The standbys are still good to have on hand like baby carrots, fresh fruit and hard boiled eggs. My kids loved ants on a log – sticks of celery filled with peanut or almond butter and topped with raisins. It’s quick, easy for them to do and nutritious. We always had a stash of frozen grapes in the freezer as well. Sometimes just a handful of crackers and a cheese stick does the trick. I find Simple Mills crackers in my supermarket now and they have both gluten free and sprouted seed versions with very few ingredients. If you can’t find them, you can get them online. Just to make things a little more interesting, here are some other ideas they can put together themselves, depending on their age, or with minimal assistance from you:

Everything is more fun on a stick. What about fruit on a stick? (Obviously this is for older kids to do.) If you have some wooden skewers and fruit like strawberries, grapes, orange segments and chunks of pineapple or banana, they can create their own combos and use vanilla yogurt as a dip. Younger children can combine their favorite fruits and mix in some vanilla yogurt and granola for a fruit parfait.

You can flip that to veggies on a stick as well. You just may need to have some of the veggies cut and prepped for them like cucumber coins, chunks of celery and bell pepper and grape tomatoes, and provide ranch dressing, hummus or a good quality veggie dip as the dip. If the kids are older and know how to use a knife you can provide kid-friendly chef’s knives and they can even do the prep.

Keeping with the stick theme, what about a sandwich on a stick? You (or they) could just cut out some fun shapes from whatever healthy bread, cheese and turkey or ham they like with cookie cutters and let them create their own sandwich kabobs with grape tomatoes, romaine lettuce and bell pepper chunks. They can use ranch dressing, ketchup or honey mustard as the dip. If you have younger children and don’t want them messing with skewers, they can create fun shaped sandwiches without the skewers.

What about a quick English muffin pizza? This was another of my kids’ favorites. Toast an English muffin and they can top with a tablespoon or so of prepared pizza or pasta sauce, some shredded cheese and pepperoni or whatever other topping they like. Older kids can pop it into a toaster oven until the cheese melts.

Apples and peanut butter are a natural pairing. They can easily make these apple-nut butter slices. Using an apple slicer that also removes the core, they will have 8 equal slices. Top with peanut or any other nut butter and raisins, dried cranberries or cherries. Or you can core the apples and slice them into circles (they’ll look like an apple bagel!) and they can top with nut butter and granola, mini chocolate chips or whatever they like.

If your kids are not peanut butter fans or are allergic to nuts, you could try sunflower butter, hummus or cream cheese instead.

Something my 2-1/2 year old grandson loves are rice cakes with hummus. The older kids could also use a soft, whole grain tortilla or wrap, spread it with hummus and layer in some turkey, romaine and have a turkey-hummus wrap. Or they can create pinwheels: put all of their favorite sandwich toppings—hummus and veggies or nut butter and jelly—on a whole-grain tortilla. Roll it up and slice into 1-inch rounds. It’s like a sandwich but way more fun.

When my kids and grandkids visit I always whip up a batch of quinoa-egg bites and keep them in the fridge. They make for a great quick, healthy snack that my son Matt especially loves. Another one that works as a snack or quick meal are mini quiches. The ones I usually make have a gluten free crust, but you can eliminate the crust altogether and just make little crust-less quiches. They freeze well and keep well in the fridge. You could also put together some energy bites, which you can keep in the freezer and pull out as needed. Of course any muffins made in mini size are great to have ready to pop and go. Mine are high protein, gluten free, which freeze beautifully and thaw quickly.

I hope you find some ideas here that your kiddos will enjoy, both making and eating!

http://www.threedimensionalvitality.com/articles/article/8754673/188580.htm Quinoa-egg bites
http://www.threedimensionalvitality.com/articles/article/8754673/192763.htm Mini quiches
http://www.threedimensionalvitality.com/articles/article/8754673/193015.htm Energy bites
http://www.threedimensionalvitality.com/articles/article/8754673/170809.htm Protein muffins

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