As soon as the boys come through the door after school, they start looking for food. You would think they haven’t eaten in a week from the way they desperately scavenge through the fridge and cabinets for something to fill their hollow legs. It’s not like I don’t pack them a good-sized lunch, I do, but apparently my growing boys need more than that to keep them satisfied. The dilemma is that I don’t want to give them too much or they won’t eat their dinner. If they’re going to have a snack, I want it to be nutritious and worthwhile. So here are some of the snacks I like to serve them. Even if you don’t have ravenous children, these snacks are great for anyone looking for healthy snack ideas that aren’t full of empty calories.
Are your kids tired of veggies and dip? Try marinating your vegetables. I used cucumbers here but you can try it with other veggies like carrots or celery.
1 cup sliced cucumbers
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)
Place all the ingredients together in a jar, then cover it and shake it up to coat the cucumbers and dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (but preferably overnight), and shake the jar every so often to blend flavours.
Frozen Blueberries and Almond Milk
Simply put a handful of frozen blueberries in a small bowl and add a splash of vanilla almond milk. The coldness of the blueberries will cause a frosty layer of almond milk to form around the berries. This is a fun frozen treat that my kids love just as much as ice cream and yet it’s much better for them.
Yogurt and Almond-Butter Dip
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Combine above ingredients in a small bowl. Serve as a dip with apples or other fruit of your choice.
I also love this dip as a topping for pancakes. Leftover pancakes can be a great after-school snack. Just pop them in the toaster to heat them up. I took these leftover coconut banana pancakes and topped them with some of the yogurt dip and it really complimented them nicely.
Paper Bag Popcorn
If you haven’t tried the paper bag popcorn trick in your microwave, you should give in a try right now. It’s so easy and cheap, and popcorn is a very sensible snack with it’s not drenched in butter. It’s extremely high in fiber.
Put 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in a paper bag and close up the very top of the bag. I like to use a plastic clip like the ones from Ikea, but you could just fold the rim of the bag a few times too. Place the bag on it’s side in the microwave and cook on high just until the popping slows down. It may take you a few attempts to find the perfect timing in your microwave, but for mine it takes 1 minute and 40 seconds.
If my kids want a savoury popcorn, I’ll add a little melted butter and sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour.
If they want a sweet popcorn, I melt about 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp almond butter and 1/8 tsp cinnamon together in the microwave and pour it over top. It makes the popcorn taste like cinnamon buns.
Now wash it all down with a refreshing glass of water. Kids don’t always find plain water that appealing. My kids prefer juice but since juice has a lot of sugar I like to offer them naturally flavoured water instead. In this example I added cucumber, lemon and lime slices to a pitcher of water and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavours have a chance to infuse into the water. I drink a lot of this water as a natural detox drink, but the kids like it too.
You can experiment with different fruits, vegetables and/or herbs in your water. Try using frozen berries. You don’t have to let that one sit too long, just serve it right away while the berries are still frozen. They act as ice cubes to keep the water cold with the added bonus of flavouring the water as they melt. The kids have fun scooping out the berries at the end too.