The school year is now in full-swing and everyone is slowly adjusting to the new schedule that comes with this new chapter of life. Chances are, when your child comes home from a busy day at school, he/she runs straight to the kitchen and is ready to devour anything in sight. Younger children are fed lunch much earlier than older students, leaving them hungry and cranky by the end of the day. And as your child reaches the teen years, he will try and eat you out of house and home. While it might be easy to turn to a bag of potato chips or some milk and cookies, there are plenty of snack options that are more nutritious, can be prepared without too much effort, and won’t break the bank or spoil dinner.
Everything tastes better on a stick. While it may not be a scientific fact that snacks and meals taste better when they’re placed on a stick, those kinds of foods are definitely more fun to eat. Cut various fruits (and/or vegetables) into cute, bite-sized shapes. If your child prefers to do everything without your assistance, allow him to create a pattern by placing their snack on skewers. This type of snack helps improve hand-eye coordination while encouraging healthy eating. Every once in a while throw in a new fruit or vegetable for your kid to try.
French fries aren’t just for mealtime. Try a healthy alternative made from sweet potatoes for a midafternoon snack. They take around 45 minutes total to make (most of which is cooking time), but require very little prep. Simply grab a couple sweet potatoes and clean them. Then cut them into ½ inch wedges or sticks and toss with a bit of olive oil. Cook the potatoes at 425 degrees F, turning once, for 20-25 minutes. Once they’re soft, sprinkle with a little sea salt. Let them cool, serve with ketchup, and your child will thank you later.
Try some snack-sized mealtime favorites. Your child probably loves pizza (Who doesn’t?) and would eat it every day if given the option. Now you can make his dreams come true without allowing afternoon snacking to ruin his appetite. Grab an English muffin or some pita bread, put a dollop of tomato sauce, and let your student add whatever toppings strike his fancy. Throw it in the oven for a few minutes and voila, pizza craving is satisfied. Or for a smaller snack that will be equally loved, grab a tortilla and create a delicious quesadilla. Offer new ingredients that your child would not normally choose and who knows, perhaps someday you will be caught off-guard by your student’s request for a new ingredient.
Who doesn’t love to dip their food? Most children today do not get enough fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. But serving raw, fresh fruits and vegetables can seem challenging to say the least. Encourage your child to eat more by serving them with different kinds of dips. For vegetables, try some hummus or ranch dip. And for fruits, offer a yogurt-based dip or some honey mixed with a little cinnamon. If your kid is a bit more adventurous, try serving a peanut dip or some creamy guacamole.