After School Munch
If your kids are anything like mine, the first thing they ask for on the car ride home from school is a snack… but the last thing you want to do is prepare another meal before having to get dinner ready. Start encouraging your kids to be independent in the kitchen by teaching them to prepare their own after school munch.
Kids in full time school have a long day. Adding an after school activity can make snack time even more essential. A quick snack when they get home can ward off crabby behavior and give them an energy boost to make it to their dinner meal. Also, letting the little ones take charge of snack time is one step closer to preparing and cooking meals for themselves! Can you even imagine that?
Once the kids are in school, they are old enough to prepare some simple snacks, but they will need to learn from you. Here are a few teaching tips:
Make a plan. Sit down with them and decide on 5 healthy after school snacks together. They are more likely to follow instructions if they have a say in the process
- Practice makes perfect. Handing over the snack responsibility will not set you free just yet! Teaching them some skills in the kitchen will save you time in the long run. On the weekends, older kids can help cut the vegetables, while the younger ones can stir the vegetable dip or prepare the trail mix.
- Label the portion size. Use an old set of measuring cups and spoons to guide serving sizes. Label the portion size that you recommend on the container of trail mix, yogurt, or mixed nuts. That way they know how much to dish out for themselves.
- Clean up. The last thing you need is extra dishes and crumbs to clean up. Show them how you expect them to clean up their dishes and wipe down the table after they prepare food.
So here are some snack ideas to get you and your kids started.
- Yogurt & Fruit Cups. Have them scoop out ½ cup yogurt and add ½ cup fruit. I usually buy the larger containers of plain yogurt to avoid all that added sugar! Greek yogurt will give them a protein boost. For the fruit, my kids like the frozen berries, but any fruit will do. My kids require a squirt of honey with their plain yogurt for a little sweetness.
- One “scoop” from the Trail Mix Container. A quick mix of dried fruit (without the added sugar), plain cereals, nuts/seeds, and coconut flakes into an airtight container and voila! Add a ½ cup-measuring cup so that they can measure out their own too.
- Healthy Snack Bars. I’m a fan of healthy homemade snacks bars. If you have a tasty, healthy recipe, then great, but if you need to reach for the packaged snack bars, make sure to read the nutrition label. Quick Tip: choose a bar with at least 2 grams of fibre, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 8 grams of sugar per serving. Easier said than done! Keep in mind that 8 grams of sugar is 2 teaspoons worth.
- Cheese & Fruit. Pick up one of those non-sharp cheese cutters with the wire across the top. You can teach them how much to use it. Add a piece of fruit to go with it!
- Smoothie Popsicles. My son is getting right into making smoothies with his dad in the morning. Lucky me! They make a large batch and if there are leftovers, we pour it into homemade popsicle molds and into the freezer. This makes for a super easy after school snack that pleases everyone.
Have fun exploring this food frontier with your kids! Make it your own and make it part of a new family habit.
Are you struggling with your kids’ food preferences or eating behaviours? Maybe it is time to bring in a professional. Registered Dietitian Leah Perrier is passionate about teaching our kids where food comes from and how to nourish their bodies. She has over a decade of experience working with paediatric nutrition. Contact the office to book in.