The Big Question: After School Snacks

By : Marin Lissy

Farmer Foodshare welcomes a new blogger: Marin Lissy loves to cook with her family and friends, and enjoys sharing delicious healthy recipes. She recently won an essay contest sponsored by the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties to improve access to healthy foods. When she's not balancing sixth grade academic activities, Marin enjoys reading, playing guitar, biking, and spending time outdoors.

How many times do your children come home from school demanding a snack? How often do you want to pull out a bag of chips or crackers? This is an obstacle faced by many parents -- putting out healthy after school snacks. There are a couple of solutions to this challenge.

Ever have time on the weekend? Sunday nights are a great time to make snacks for the upcoming week. Homemade kale chips, hummus with vegetables, and roasted seasonal vegetables are a few make-ahead’s. Most of these do not even require a recipe--you just have to cut up some vegetables, season them with salt and pepper, and stick them in a 425 degree oven on a cookie sheet for 15 to 20 minutes. It also doesn’t take much effort to google some recipes, even if it isn’t the most creative thing in the world.

Even on the first days of fall, it can feel as hot as summertime. How can you quench your children’s thirst? Smoothies! They are a good way to “camouflage” vegetables that you want your children to eat. It may be subversive, but it works!  Smoothies can not only be milk/yogurt-based, but may also include leafy greens such as spinach or kale. You can incorporate protein (vegan milks, protein powder, etc), or non-fat ingredients into your smoothies to make them even more healthy and tasty. Never stop experimenting with different fruits or vegetables to change flavors and textures!

Looking for a snack with little preparation that could become a favorite of your children?  Go for something simple -- peanut butter balls packed with dried fruit and oats, fruit kabobs, or roasted sweet potato fries. Click here for a link to one of my favorites. For me, cutting up a raw fruit or vegetable, and arranging it creatively on a plate is a simple strategy to make food appealing. Doing this decreases effort, so you can get to your favorite part--eating it! This has been one of my mother’s tricks, and it still works on me today!

Don’t forget about these tips, because at one time or another, they will come in handy.