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After-school snacks

I'm at a loss. I have a sadly typical overbooked child who has either sports or music 4 days a week after school. By coordinating with the Spouse we're able to make sure that we have a normal sit-down family dinner nearly every night but the Offspring still needs a snack right after school. I'm running out of ideas.

I need something that can be consumed in the car without making a major mess. I rely a little too much on chips or popcorn because that's easy to grab and toss in her gym bag. I also use dried fruit and the occasional cookie. She rarely gets sweets at lunch so I don't mind doing some sugar in the afternoon.

Any suggestions for something neat, nutritious, and tasty?

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  1. Depending on age/dexterity of said Offspring, would she even look at hummus & veggies? There are small, single serve containers of hummus now on the market (someone brought it in to work to show us last week)...with some baby carrots, that might make a quick & neat snack.

    1. I keep ziplocs of fruit in the fridge that I can just grab on the way out the door. Apples, bananas, pears, etc. are virtually mess free. Sometimes the berries fall and get smushed but not often.

      Also, I make mini-sandwiches out of crackers and keep them in ziplocs as well. Usually just peanut butter or a soft cheese. They don't make too much of a mess, save for a few crumbs.

      The key is to prepare ahead and have ziplocs full of snacks ready to go, so you can just grab what you want on the way out the door.

      1. Val, yes baby carrots and dip is great. I love the presliced apples and the small containers of caramel dip. A little sweet but not too much. Chocolate and nut covered frozen bananas. Cut a banana in half put on a stick dip in the chocolate you can heat right in the micro and cover with nuts and freeze. Healthy and easy and quick. A small flour tortilla spread with a honey nut cream cheese and fresh strawberry or any fruit preserves rolled up.

        1. Can’t go wrong with fresh fruit. Good suggestions so far, but maybe, depending on the “Offspring’s” taste, some homemade trail mix or “chex” mix sweetened with chocolate chips and raisins or some such?

          1 Reply
          1. re: cuccubear

            That is always great, I loved that as a kid. Dried banana chips and apricots were my favorite. I still love them.

          2. For your occasional cookie, oatmeal cookie with raisins or other dried fruit, applesauce or banana puree, walnuts or other nut. Granola and yoghurt.

            2 Replies
              1. re: nissenpa

                Those are both good. Or you can just put raisins in a baggie or small plastic container. It's pretty easy now to find inexpensive "snack size" plastic containers you can pre-pack at the beginning of the week, and they're a little sturdier so you can pack stuff that's more easily crushed, like peanut butter and crackers.

            1. I was so lucky when my boys were in school, they always wanted salad. What's funny is that I am not a huge iceberg lettuce eater, and I was trying to get them to eat salad. So I worked hard on a process to get the lettuce and keep it, crunchy & crispy.

              After work I'd drive home, 45 mins, then pick them up, they had to be ready to go, turnaround, and drive back 45 for the boy's piano lessons, I'd have the lettuce torn and ready.Toppins too, they just put it together in bowls with snap lids.

              Now I leave the lettuce whole, but that crispy lettuce is perfect for so many different food things.
              Piano was once a week, I always had their favorite toppings. Olives, peppercini, pickled jalapenos, cranberries, cucumbers. carrots shredded, green and red grapes. I made homemade blue cheese, and if that was gone, they would make their own red wine vinegar, and oil dressing. As I drove to piano, they ate with a towel across their laps.

              The piano lessons went so much better with them having a full stomach, and I felt so much better not feeding them McDonalds.They were quite happy having their salads almost every day. In fact they still love their salads, if they see me with one, they will ask if there's any more and can they have some.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chef chicklet

                Beautiful. And how are they doing with the piano?

              2. yogurt
                tortilla rolled w/cheese
                apple slices and peanut butter
                orange slices
                frozen red grapes
                graham crackers and milk

                1 Reply
                1. re: laliz

                  Frozen red grapes are great

                  I used to like graham crackers with a flavored cream cheese or small container of jam to dip in. It was and still is a favorite of mine. Simple, a bit sweet, but still healthy

                2. All are great ideas.. a few more..
                  - pears with a caramel dip
                  - apples with crunchy peanut butter
                  - homemade granola or cereal bars (emeril had a cool looking recipe on Emeril Green)
                  - fruit salad with yogurt
                  - chocolate dipped dried apricots
                  -graham crackers with cream cheese (can be made into sandwiches- easier to pack)
                  - popcorn/pretzels drizzled with melted chocolate (make a large batch and portion into baggies)

                  does she prefer sweet or salty snacks?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    And here I thought I was the only person who thought graham crackers went perfectly with cream cheese!

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I buy cream cheese only for the graham crackers! Otherwise I won't go near cream cheese..

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Graham crackers, cream cheese and strawberry jam...

                    2. Cold pizza. This has the additional benefit of training them for college self-survival.

                      1. Nuts are nice because they last and can be left in the car. I purchase large containers of almonds and cashews from Costco and just make up a bunch of baggies.
                        Mini-bagels are easy and usually pre-sliced to it's easy to make a quick sandwich - just add cheese.

                        1. I always have cooked foods ready for quick re-combination: rice, pasta, lentils, beans, roast chicken, shredded poached chicken, cooked sliced gizzard, sausage, soups, plus bread, raisins, tuna, cheeses, fruit, eggs, and more. From these I can make maybe 50 different snacks for Dana Zsofia when she gets home from school.

                          I never have chips, processed foods, pre-made foods, soft drinks in the house.

                          I will at times have home made bread, desserts like low fat and sugar apple crisps or crumbles, cookies, fruit pies, as well as corn bread ...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Along these lines- we used to drive 20+ miles to piano lessons twice a week. Mom always packed a mini meal that was warm and we just ate as she drove. On those days by the time we got home it was late enough that we ate a similar mini meal at the family table.

                          2. Peanut butter in celery sticks...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MacTAC

                              That's ok provided the peanut police don't haul you in for carrying illegal substances across a school border.

                            2. Get her to help plan and pack the snacks on Sunday night or another night where you have a minute to breath. It teaches her meal planning skills and you won't have to worry about her turning up her nose at it because she helped make it. Mom used to do this with us I was making supper for the family by the time I was 12 years old.

                              1. What a collection of great ideas. I think I'm going to print out a list of my favorites and tack it to the fridge.

                                Thanks all!