How to Keep the Kids' Snack Time from Ruining Your Life
Find out how one mom keeps her kids' snack time simple and streamlined with go-to eats for her little ones.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are one thing. I knew I’d be on the hook for those the moment I saw my first ultrasound (and my second, third and fourth). But adding snacks — two snacks — every day almost pushed me over the edge. It seemed like every time I got the kitchen counter shoveled off from the previous meal, some short person would trot up asking, “Is it snack time yet?” Instead of tossing a box of gummy fruits to the crowd and letting them fend for themselves, I started getting strategic. Here’s what I do to create a varied snack plan full of (mostly) whole foods (pretty) easily:
1. Make a Batch of Freezer-Friendly Muffins: I usually have a couple of kinds of veggie-packed muffins in my freezer. Set your premade muffins on the counter at breakfast and they’ll be thawed by snack time — or just pop them in the microwave at the last second. Try: Pumpkin Muffins
2. Yogurt Parfaits: For a crowd with varied tastes, try a container of plain yogurt plus a few nutritious toppings. Nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, frozen blueberries, honey … Let each person add whatever he or she likes.
3. No-Bake Balls and Bars: Full of nuts, dried fruit and good-for-you add-ins like chia and flax seeds, the beauty of these is their speed. It’ll take you 5 minutes to put them together — and kids can help. Store them in the fridge and distribute throughout the week. Our favorites: No-Bake Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bars
4. Chia Seed Pudding and Strawberry "Applesauce": Throwing a cup of milk and a quarter cup of chia seeds with a little honey into a bowl before bed means an instant snack the next morning. For a fruity option, blend a cup of berries before adding the chia seeds and let it set overnight. The result is a very healthy bowl of sweet and juicy fruit that beats applesauce any day. Try: Our Strawberry-Chia Seed Blend
5. Protein-Rich Popsicles: The trouble with popsicles as a snack is they don’t stick with you. Try a mix of milk or plain yogurt plus pureed fruit to keep kids fuller longer. (Or freeze either of the chia seed mixtures above!) Our favorites: Blackberry Creamsicle Pops
6. Veggies and Dip Contest: Since most kids don’t eat enough vegetables, this one’s a favorite — and it’s easy. Set out baby carrots, a few sliced cucumbers, peppers or whatever you have and add two or three “sauces”: salad dressings, hummus or, again, whatever you have. Let the kids mix and match to come up with the winning combinations. Try: Ina Garten’s Homemade Hummus
7. Don’t Underestimate Plain Fruit: Regular fruit. A banana. Apples, oranges, grapes — anything you can just hand a kid is an excellent snack at home or on the go. If you want to get fancier, cut up a pineapple, kiwis or melon and serve the kids right from the cutting board. Authentic!
Charity Curley Mathews is the founder of Foodlets.com: Mini Foodies in the Making…Maybe. You can find her fresh recipes for kids on Facebook and Pinterest.