The final school bell rings, and your sweet child runs into your arms exhausted, hungry and, therefore, totally grumpy. Sound familiar?
To keep their energy (and mood) up for after-school activities, homework and good ol’ play, children require wholesome, nutritious snacks to tide them over until dinnertime. However, consistently having plenty of good options on hand can be challenging for parents. Having made kids and food my life’s work for the past decade, I have come up with these rules of after-school snackmaking:
When it comes to snack time, don’t overthink it. A few simple ingredients can create an after-school snack your kids will love.
3. Make your freezer your new best friend. Whenever you make cookies, waffles or pancakes, freeze what’s left over in zipper bags or containers, labeled with the contents and the date. Then, simply remove a few to pop into the toaster so you never need to prepare an after-school snack from scratch again. This tip also is ideal for those times when you have leftover soup. Freeze it in a glass container filled three-quarters full, then quickly reheat on the stove or in the microwave whenever a hot cup of soup seems like the ideal afternoon snack.
Add wholesome ingredients to favorite snack recipes. Up the nutrition of cookies by mixing protein- and omega-rich hemp seeds into your batter.
Whenever you make cookies, waffles or pancakes, freeze what’s left over in zipper bags or containers, labeled with the contents and the date.
6. Most important, keep it simple. When it comes to snack time, don’t overthink it. A few simple ingredients can create an after-school snack your kids will love: a delicious quesadilla made with tortillas, cheese and a handful of spinach; a toasted slice of whole-grain bread topped with almond butter and sliced banana; Mexican Rice Balls made with leftover brown rice, cheese cubes and a handful of spices; a healthful parfait made by layering yogurt, berry and granola in a glass or jar. You’d be surprised how simple it is to make your own fruit leather from peaches, strawberries or pineapple, and it lasts forever.
It may take a few tries to figure out what works best for you, but once you do, snack time can be something you actually look forward to rather than dread.
McCord runs the website Weelicious.com, is the author of “Weelicious” and “Weelicious Lunches” and is the founder of the family-friendly organic-meal-delivery company One Potato.