After-School Appetites

My children are always hungry when they arrive home from school. This seems to be the case whether or not they've eaten all of the lunch and snacks that were packed to be eaten during the day. Hungry kids will eat just about anything you put out for them so I use their appetite at this time of day as an opportunity to pack in some nutrients by offering a 'mini-meal' of tasty, healthy foods.

The 'mini-meals' include food from a couple of food groups and are quick to put together. Sometimes I'll make it up the night before and the kids grab it from the fridge when they get home. For some snacks, I leave the items out on the counter for them to put together.

Here are a few examples of the mini-meals that satisfy the after-school appetites of my kids and their friends....

Crackers with peanut butter and bananas. This is one of the snacks that the kids put together themselves. I leave the jar of peanut butter, box of crackers and bananas on the counter with a knife and plates. I make it as easy as possible for them to put the snack together so they'll eat it. Peanut butter after school is great for kids who like peanut butter but can't bring it to school.

Hard boiled eggs, sliced oranges (they're blood oranges which explains their colour), pita crisps with chili dip. I made this plate up the night before except for the pita crisps which I left on the counter. The chili dip is simply leftover chili from dinner. I often have hard boiled eggs on hand because my kids like them and they also like egg salad sandwiches. Sometimes I put out egg salad for a dip with the pita crisps or whole grain crackers.

 Muffins, apple slices, cheese and grapes. This mini-meal can be made ahead of time and put in the fridge. I put the cheese in a plastic baggie on the plate so it doesn't dry out. The apples are Royal Gala. I usually get this type of apple because they don't brown very quickly after they've been sliced. Another option for apples is to sprinkle them with cinnamon to hide the browning.

Some other quick, tasty and satisfying after-school snack ideas are cereal with milk, grilled cheese and veggie sticks and yogurt with granola and berries. Along with the mini-meal, add a glass of ice cold water or milk.

We'd love to hear your ideas for satisfying after-school appetites. "Contact Us" and let us know!

                                                                                                          Michele, RD