When kids thunder home after school, it's a signal for snack time! Hanging out with friends and working together on homework will be more fun with an easy snack to boost their energy and satisfy their hunger until dinner. A stocked pantry and smart food choices make it easy for moms to fix snacks fast and please even the pickiest eater with healthy options that are tasty and tempting.
Snacks high in protein and fiber are excellent choices because they'll fill up a crowd quickly. Lean chicken, cheese, eggs, dairy, and nutrient-rich veggies like broccoli are low-fat options that make good snacks. You'll score bonus points with your kids if you present these foods in a delicious new way.
For kids craving a sweet treat, bake up a batch of cinnamon sugar twists. Combine 1/2 cup softened cream cheese with cinnamon sugar and spread onto a strip of refrigerated breadstick dough. Twist and stretch the dough before baking following the package instructions. Serve with cold cubes of melon or sliced fruit wedges to increase the nutritional value.
For another sweet fruit snack, give kids a fruit dip made by combining low-fat sour cream or yogurt with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix together, top with cinnamon sugar and serve with fruit dippers threaded onto skewers.
For salty, savory options that you can serve to a crowd, try updated versions of the standard crackers, chips and dips. Drain a can of chickpeas and cook in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of paprika. After two minutes, season with salt and bake for 20 minutes for a nutty spread just right on crackers, chips or slices of baguette. Kids will like the crunch!
For another fun option, cut several whole wheat pitas into wedges and broil until golden, then use some creativity on toppings. Black beans, cheese, avocado, chicken or turkey strips and a drizzle of salsa can create personal nachos with ingredients your kids (and their friends!) will love.
For a sweet and salty treat your kids are sure to love, take sweet potatoes and slice them thin, tossing them with olive oil and salt. Preheat a baking sheet in a 425 degree oven and spread the slices on the hot pan. Sprinkle these slices with sesame seeds or curry powder and bake for 10 minutes. These chips rule, and will make your kids forget about boring packaged snacks! Plus, they're packed with fiber and vitamin A, especially if you leave the potato skins on.
Plain popcorn is a popular snack, or jazz it up in just a few minutes! Melt 1/3 cup of butter with 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 cup of pecans and a pinch of salt. Toss this mixture with twelve cups of popcorn before spreading on a parchment-lined baking sheet to bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Presto! A caramel popcorn melt to enjoy with their pals.
Stock up on healthy convenience snacks like mini sandwiches packed with the protein of lean meat, and yogurts to mix with fruit of serve as a veggie dip.
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