Parents everywhere are struggling right now with the amount of snacks are kids are eating throughout the day. How did they survive a school day without all the constant snacking? Should it be healthy food only? Can we sacrifice healthy for quick and easy? Will it ruin their dinner? Is 4:00 too early for Merlot? Okay, the last one was mine.
I recently asked a group of friends about their go-to snacks and the overwhelming majority of us want something that’s quick, easy and, ideally, can be made themselves. So here are some of our favourite ideas for kids. And just for fun, a little something for the parents.
This one’s a no-brainer. Whether it’s cucumbers, carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes or green beans, very little prep is required, and most kids will be able to get them out of the fridge themselves. The best part? It takes the pressure off of forcing kids to eat their veggies at dinner, especially if yours, like mine, prefer crunchy to cooked. Hummus, ranch dressing, and guacamole can help veggie-phobic kids get a little more excited about a plate of greens.
Pairs well with: Spicy bloody Caesar
I had almost given up on sending fruit to school for lunch because I couldn’t seem to find a way to keep it cold, un-squished and appetizing. But now, between breakfast smoothies and cut-up fruit, my kids seem to be getting enough. (I’d know if they had scurvy, right?) Cherries, strawberries, sliced peaches, pineapple … a fruit plate is a great, colourful snack that can be prepared well in advance so they just have to open fridge and insert arm.
Pairs well with: Sangria
Cheese and Crackers
I plan to spend my retirement researching, procuring and eating cheese so it’s important that my kids learn to appreciate it. Sliced, cubed, string or shredded, cheese is right up there with fruits and veggies in terms of simplicity, and most kids love it. Serve it with crackers, kielbasa, fruit or veggies. Older kids can melt it in the microwave over just about anything.
Pairs well with: Crisp, cold Sauvignon Blanc or a Rosé Wine Slushie
Depending on how comfortable you are letting your kids operate rotating blades in close proximity to their siblings, smoothies may be a great snack option. Frozen fruit, Greek yogurt, coconut water, almond milk, spinach, kale, chia and ground flax are staple ingredients. Let kids experiment with different combinations then simplify prep by bagging the solid ingredients ahead of time so they can dump them in the blender with their liquid of choice and some ice.
Pairs well with: Strawberry Mojito
Smashed Avocado with Tostitos
A friend of mine has a rule: “No chips without something green on them.” Smashed avocado – with or without a dash of sea salt and lemon – is great on chips, crackers, veggies, toast and much more. If your kids want a salty, no-so-healthy treat like nacho chips, this is a good compromise.
Pairs well with: Blackberry Cilantro Margarita
Rice Cakes Topped with Peanut Butter and Banana
I love toast, but if you don’t want your little ones using the toaster, or if you just want a twist on a classic snack, I like to tell the kids to slather a rice cake with some pb and slice some fruit on top for good measure. Bananas are our favourite, but it also takes great with apple, blueberries and strawberries.
Pairs well with: Pear Mojito
No-bake Energy Bites
Typically made from peanut butter, oats, coconut, chocolate chips, chia and flaxseed, honey or maple syrup, these are favourites in my house. I’ve been on an anti-added sugar kick for a while so I switched to brown rice syrup and sugar-free peanut butter and no one noticed. I love these because when they’re craving something sweet, they’re much better than a store-bought granola bar, cookie or muffin. Here’s our favourite recipe.
Pairs well with: Baileys and coffee
What did I miss? Share your favourite snacks with us!