Healthy and unhealthy snacks for kids; These after school snacks are a must have!
The house is quieter when the kids are at school. And the fridge is emptier.
I swear the kids are hungrier during the school year than the summer. They come home from school, and the first word out of their mouths is not “Hi, Mom!”, it’s “What’s there to eat?”
I’ve just started planning on having an after school snack available, so they can start saying “Hi, Mom!” again.
Here are my rules for after school snacks:
- It must not require much time. In other words, no baking cookies. If I can’t make them in less than 20 minutes, I probably won’t do it.
- There must be a variety. I like when the kids feel excited to come home and see what snack I planned for them. Some days it’s just fresh fruit. Some days it’s a chocolate shake. You just never know.
- It must require them to sit in the kitchen for a few minutes, not a granola bar or something like that that they can walk away with. I want them to sit and tell me about their day while its fresh in their minds. I’ll use paper plates if I’m worried about dishes, I just want them to talk to me for 5-10 minutes.
- It must taste good. I guess this goes without saying. After all, good food = love.
I have this friend who is a Marriage and Family Therapist and also blogs about these things. He has a series called The Five Connections where he talks about 5 things parents can do to prevent addictions. If you do all five of these things, you have an 85% chance of keeping your kids addiction free. The Second Connection is to check in daily with each child.
These daily check-ins are not meant to be unpleasant or an excuse to lecture, just to gather information about their lives and strengthen your connections. Since teens tend to be busy and out of the home a lot, I try to use any opportunity I can to sit eye-to-eye with them for 5 or 10 minutes.
And more often than not, that opportunity is the after school snack.
I’ve collected 10 great options for you. All of them follow these rules. I hope you will find them useful and delicious.
Since I have this belief that snack time = chat time, I’d love to hear from you what you are doing to get your kids talking about their lives away from home. Leave a comment below!
- No Bake Cookies – these are classic. You can whip them up in 10 minutes or less, and throw them in the fridge, or even the freezer if you’re in a hurry. I like to put them in a mini-muffin pan, partly because it’s easy, and partly because the kids have to stand in the kitchen and dig the cookies out with a spoon.
- Oreo White Chocolate Popcorn – because we love popcorn and we love Oreos. Plain old Oreos they can walk away with, but a single big bowl of popcorn to share requires everyone to be in the same place.
- Mango Salsa – I love this salsa because it uses my kids love of fruit to develop their taste for avocados. Again, I use one bowl of salsa and one bag of corn chips to share.
- Grilled PB Chocolate Sandwiches – Depending on the size of your griddle, you can make several of these at a time. I like to have them really close to ready when the kids walk in the door, so they will sit in the kitchen and wait for them to be done. More than 2-3 minutes, and they will wait somewhere else; less than 2-3 minutes, you may not have time to get them talking.
- Orange Juice Smoothie – this Orange Julius knockoff can be mixed up in just a minute or two, and the kids can even do it themselves. Since it’s served in a glass, they can technically walk away with it, but if you get the kids doing the blending, they’ll still have a few minutes together.
- Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites – Okay, these are just crazy delicious. I make them up ahead of time, and keep them in the fridge. What will happen is the kids will eat a couple, then within a few minutes, they will return to the fridge for a couple more.
- Garlic Parmesan Home Fries – These may stretch the 20 minute rule, but sometimes you want something warm and comforting. If you’re experiencing a particularly cold winter day, and you don’t mind turning on the oven for a bit, these are your babies.
- Funfetti Oreo Stacks – This is another one that is more hands on for the kids. I like to put some frosting in a piping bag, and let the kids make their own stacks. You can vary this by using different flavored frosting.
- Chocolate Waffle Iron Cookies – This is one of my favorites. Each batch of cookies cooks in the waffle iron for about 3-4 minutes. I do the cooking, and the kids stand in the kitchen and frost their cookies.
- 9 Minute Microwave Cake – the easiest cake of all time. This one is perfect for the days the kids bring friends home with them, because it makes plenty and is best eaten fresh. This recipe uses both chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, but you can use any cake and frosting combination you like.
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