It’s safe to say that after school the majority of kids come home hungry or in my kids case, famished. It’s like they haven’t eaten all day. As I watch them empty the contents of their lunch kits, I see half of the lunch that was packed, untouched-most of which consists of the things I would have liked them to eat first; nuts, seeds and vegetables. Yes, even I still haven’t been able to get my children to love their vegetables. But overtime I’ve kept making sure that vegetables either accompanied their meals or are put into a recipe. Fast forward a couple years and they’ve started to add a few of these vegetables to their favorites list or at least to the list of things they’ll tolerate……baby steps.
Some of these snack ideas that I’m sharing might be familiar to some of you but I want to emphasize two things in regards to them.
Keep Them Whole
By this I mean whole grains and whole fruits. One of the reasons why kids are feeling hungry after school is because blood sugar levels are low. When this happens our kids tend to crave foods that have a high sugar content. The more refined and sugary their morning and afternoon meals were, the more likely you are to bring home a tired, cranky/irritable and hungry child that kind of looks like your child but doesn’t behave like them 😉 Not fun for the child or the parent!
Get the Kids involved
Time for their creativity to shine. Have all the ingredients out buffet style and let the kids assemble and pick out their choices and variations for their snack masterpiece. Children are more likely to eat something they’ve made or helped to make.
Here are a few simple and very versatile snack ideas that you can add to your family’s repertoire of foods to curb the mid day munchies.
Apple Slices, Almond Butter, Dried Cranberries Plus a Few Exras
This snack can be changed up with different nut butter and dried fruit. For a nut less version, you can use a seed butter and sprinkle with sunflower seeds or hemp hearts. The kids can turn these into mini apple treat pizzas by using all of the ingredients or only a couple. I found that our family liked having all the different tastes and textures. You’ve got sweet, tart, crunchy, and chewy all in one bite!
Homemade Hummus With Veggies Of Choice
If you’re in a pinch, you can use premade hummus but be sure to read the ingredients label as some contain harmful oils and chemicals. And once you’ve stumbled on a good homemade recipe, store bought won’t even compare. Using dried beans means a little more time. It is best to make a big batch to have on hand, plus it is cheaper. If you don’t have the time and are looking to buy canned chickpeas, I’d suggest buying the brand Eden Foods as these aren’t processed with chemicals and the lining of the can is BPA free.
Our Favorite Hummus
4 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas or 2 cans, drained and rinsed
4 small cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2-1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
Place all the ingredients, except the oil into a food processor. You can also use a hand held blender, especially if you choose to make a smaller batch. Blend on high when using the food processor and slowly add in oil and blend until it has a fluffy texture (1-2 minutes), you might need to scrape down the sides a bit. If you are using a hand held blender, you can add the oil before blending. Blend on high speed until fully blended. Top with hemp hearts for an extra boost of protein, fibre and omegas.
Cut up some of your child’s favorite veggies and dip away. Or let your child get a little creative and make one of these guys
This guy gives a whoot about healthy eating 😉
Here is an alternative to the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich that doesn’t require bread. This smoothie is loaded with antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients that will help fight that back to school/fall cold.
1 cup of unsweetened milk alternative of choice
3/4 cup frozen berry mix
2 tbsp natural peanut butter or seed butter for nut free option.
1 tbsp Stevia, Wholesome Brand doesn’t have as strong of a taste as other brands of stevia do
or 1 tbsp of unpasteurized honey
Place liquids into a high speed blender then add peanut butter, frozen berries, and blend on high until smoothie is well blended.
Loaded Brown Rice Cakes
Here is another opportunity for the kids to get creative as these can be turned into mini pizzas. The possibilities are endless. These can be made savory with hummus or guacamole as a base. The only main thing to try and focus on is to keep the ingredients whole by adding foods that are an ingredient rather than foods that have a list of ingredients. These rice cakes aren’t technically a whole food but these ones (Lundberg Organics ) contain two ingredients that are a whole food. Brown rice is a whole grain, white rice isn’t. Refined grains lead to unstable blood sugar levels and are lacking important vitamins and minerals which in turn will send hunger signals soon after.
For these loaded rice cakes I used:
1. Natural almond butter, blueberries, unpasteurized honey, topped with hemp hearts
2. Natural almond butter, bananas, dried unsweetened cranberries
3. Natural peanut butter, bananas and unsweetened coconut flakes
You can sub the nut butter for seed butter for nut free version or variety.
My goal is that this be simple, nutritious, contain ingredients that you might regularly have on hand and that those ingredients be interchangeable……..and fun of course!
I hope these recipes benefit your afterschool time with your children. If you’d like updates on more recipes like these ones, feel free to sign up down below!