after school snacks
Since back-to-school is around the corner, I thought I'd ask other parents what they provide for snacks after school. It always seems my kids (girls 8 & 11) are ready for an entire meal by 3:30! They balk at fruit, cheese & crackers unless I plate it for them as if I'm competing for the Next Food Network Star. Even if they do eat fruit & crackers, they're hungry again in an hour if not less. Cookies & milk you say, but they want warm out of the oven. I have treated them in the past to an easy snack of Nestle easy bake cookies but then that's all they ask for! It is not easy trying to give healthy snacks without resulting in "mom, you NEVER buy anything good!". Help!
I always found that my girls were hungry for "real food" after school; often they'd eaten lunch before noon -- I'd be hungry too. I tended to modify our weekday meals so that they have soup, sandwich, salad, leftovers, or something right after school, then a lighter supper with the whole family later in the evening. I'd rather they had a real meal when they were hungry for it than filling them with snacks for several hours so they could conform to eating at dinnertime.
I think that's the best approach, Susan -- unfortunately I'm not able to be home after school and my teens have to fend for themselves, but I often come home to find out my son microwaved an entire pizza before I got home to make dinner. If there's leftover chili or something, then I feel better knowing he can have something solid even if I get home later.
Maybe English muffin pizzas?
Soup with cheesy bread
mini-sausages dipped in mustard
When I was a nanny, I had to cater to four little boys and their afterschool cravings. Dinner was served promptly at 6 so I had to give them something that would be enough to sate them for a few hours, but not ruin their dinner appetites. Cereal, usually Total, with cut up banana or strawberries was favored by most of the boys though they each had their own twist, one wanted it warmed and mushy, one wanted a drizzle of honey, etc. The youngest did not care for cereal, actually milk, so he would often have a piece of raisin toast with a smear of PB and thinly sliced apple. These snacks may seem a bit carb heavy to some, but little boys run around so much they use the energy right up. I almost never had an issue with any of them growing hungry before dinner or not having an appetite once at the table.
In my own nanny days, I found that the kids were starving, mostly from having eaten 'lunch' as early as 10:20! What got them through was good protien, ready to eat. I would slice different cheeses to have with fruit and crackers, and I had a variety of nut butters available too--almond, cashew and peanut were big hits. It catered to their interest in something other than plain PBJ, while still getting them a bit of fat and protein to sustain them through all the sports and activities.
Another good standby was yogurt, which also tended to fill up and get some calcium into the pre-teen diet for the girls especially. They loved Greek yogurt, though they could be a little heavy-handed with the maple syrup.
Make a bowl of chicken or tuna salad to serve atop half a bagel or maybe some whole wheat crackers... fruit yogurt mixed with cottage cheese... string cheese or babybel cheese? The protein/fat combo should keep them fuller longer.
This recipe in the August Wholefoods newsletter for granola snack balls looked great for kids and tasty too. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recip...
My mom always would have shredded cheddar cheese and flour tortillas in the fridge for a quick microwave burrito. Add low-fat refried beans and it was a great snack to tide hungry kids over until dinner. Plus they can personalize it easily with what they like on a burrito.