Afternoon Eats for Young Athletes — School Days

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Food Stylist: Brett Kurzweil

Back To School Opener

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

School is officially in session, and just as kids may stomp their feet in protest all the way to the bus stop, so, too, might moms and dads as they face another daunting year of keeping their little learners full and healthy. As you think of the new school year and wonder how you’ll be able to do it all, look to Food Network’s Back-to-School Headquarters to help you make the grade. Each week this fall FN Dish will share can-do weeknight meals, easy lunchbox picks, after-school snack strategies and more from our best collection of recipes and tips.

This week’s back-to-school lesson takes us out of the classroom and to the athletic field. So many kids are young athletes as well as full-time students, and they often go straight from school to sporting practices or games. For most, these commitments come hours after they've eaten lunch and demand high reserves of energy and focus for long periods of time, so it’s important that kids have munchies on hand to sustain them until supper. But it can be tough to track down munchies that are not only healthful and filling but also easily packed. On days when you know that your child will be running from one activity to the next, send off him or her with a few of Food Network’s favorite snacks for athletes, easy to eat on the go and deliciously satisfying, too.

A timeless snack solution that many young kids on sports teams have enjoyed, granola bars are convenient, mess-free bites that can be eaten in a hurry. Most store-bought varieties, however, are laden with sugar and fat, and are packed with more chocolate or marshmallows than anything else. Food Network Magazine created a five-star recipe for Peanut-Raisin Granola Bars (pictured above) that takes just 10 minutes to prep and yields a whopping 48 bars, surely enough to last you several days of practices and games. These chewy granola bars are loaded with protein-packed peanuts and vitamin-rich sunflower seeds, but they’re flavored with warm cinnamon and studded with raisins, so they’re still undeniably sweet and kid friendly. The magazine suggests that you portion the bars into individual servings and wrap them in plastic so that they stay soft and supple until your child eats them.

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Food stylist: Adrienne Anderson Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Jacob Snavely

Jacob Snavely

If your child craves the salty goodness of bagged potato chips, try offering him or her Ellie’s Chili Tortilla Chips (pictured right) instead. They're crunchy, slightly salty and lend themselves well to effortless munching. To prepare, she shapes fresh tortillas into triangles, brushes them with a vegetable oil and dusts them with a mixture of chili powder, salt and cayenne for a touch of heat. Best of all, these spiced beauties are baked, not fried, so they're far healthier than store-bought chips, and it takes just 20-25 minutes for them to become deliciously crisp and golden brown.

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