Most kids are starving when they get home from school and look for a snack before starting their homework or playing. It is important to keep these snacks healthy and to stay away from sugary processed cookies and snacks that kids typically go for. Here are some suggestions for healthy snacks that are a bit more interesting that the typical cheese and crackers or peanut butter on an apple ideas.
Cream cheese on Melba toast, bagel bites or crackers
For homemade flavored cream cheese, let one 8 oz. package of cream cheese stand out until softened. Using a mixer, whip cream cheese so it is the consistency of thick whip cream. Add a bunch of chopped scallions, chocolate chips, chopped red bell pepper, raisins and cinnamon or other ingredient of your choice. This is easy and yummy and will go great with a variety of breads, crackers or vegetables.
Homemade bagel bites:
Slice bagels thinly or using a food processor or slicer. Slice bagels on the side vertically. Toast in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until bagels feel dry but not overdone. Use a variety of bagels for different flavors and choose healthy toppings such as cheese or peanut butter to spread on them.
English muffin pizza:
Take one English muffin, split and lightly toast. Add 2 tbsp. prepared sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Your kid will love this after school treat and it is a healthy option to prepared pizza. You can add veggies for toppings to get in a serving of vegetables. Alternatively, use a bagel for a bagel pizza.
Easy pita calzone:
Cut pita bread to make a small opening. Mix 1 cup ricotta cheese, ¼ cup shredded mozzarella and fill pita. You can also add cooked vegetables such as spinach or broccoli. Bake on baking sheet at 350 for about 15 minutes until cheese is melted. This is delicious and very nutritious!
Plain yogurt with honey and wheat germ
Drizzle 1-2 tsp. of honey on top of plain or vanilla yogurt and sprinkle with wheat germ for a healthy snack that has a bit of crunch and healthy sweetness to it.
Homemade yogurt dip:
Drain container of yogurt of your choice in a colander over a bowl for several hours or overnight. If you choose flavored yogurts, nothing more needs to be done to the dip. For plain varieties, you can add chopped veggies or fruits for added texture and flavor. The yogurt will become thickened as all the liquid will have drained. Use as a dip for vegetables or fruits or as a spread on crackers or bagels.
Banana Popsicles: Peel a banana. Insert a Popsicle stick into the middle and freeze for several hours. This a healthy and nutritious treat for your child while also being fun. You can dip the banana in honey, chocolate or peanut butter and sprinkle with nuts or sprinkles for added fun and nutrition.
Frozen yogurt or juice pops:
Pour juice or low fat yogurt into freezer Popsicle trays and freeze.
Easy Tzatziki dip:
Drain one container of yogurt in a colander over a bowl for several hours or overnight. Peel, seed and chop up one cucumber. Mince 2 cloves of garlic. Mix yogurt, cucumber, garlic together. Add ½ tsp. dried dill and a splash of lemon juice. Mix and allow flavors to mingle for an hour or so. Serve with pita chips or veggies for a flavorful dip.
Quick Refried Beans:
In food processor or using an immersion blender, blend together 3 cans drained and rinsed red kidney beans and 1 cup of water together until smooth. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and sauté one chopped onion, one chopped jalapeno pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves and one teaspoon cumin and stir for 30 seconds. Add beans and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. This keeps refrigerated for about a week and can be used for nachos, as a side dish, in quesadillas or tortillas.
Crostini with Red Peppers and Mozzarella:
Toast thin slices of French or Italian bread. Rub with a clove of garlic and brush olive oil on tops. Lay sliced roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella on top and serve. A delicious treat for your child and excellent party appetizer!
Slice vegetables of your choice into matchstick size pieces. Saute in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until softened but still crunchy. Season with salt and pepper. Spread into a middle of a tortilla and roll. Delicious and healthy!