tasty kid snack ideas: links, recipe

Every afternoon once Jasper wakes up from his nap we usually gather in the kitchen for a little snack (he's a slow waker-upper!). We've been through the usual ideas (apple and peanut butter, celery and peanut butter, carrots and dip, a little quesadilla, crackers and cheese....) 327 times and I've been in the market for some new ideas. Here's what my looking around yielded:

  • Salt and Chocolate has a neat idea for apple 'cupcakes' (basically apple halves topped with yummy things).

  • Smoothies! Tiny Morsels posted her recipe for their favorite smoothie and it sounds great! We usually throw in yogurt, frozen fruit, a banana, flax seed meal or flax oil, and some milk or juice, but I hadn't thought about spinach! We also freeze the leftovers into smoothie popsicles for a treat a few days later (since leftover smoothies just aren't that good).

  • I found a recipe for Fruit Kabobs (although it's really less 'recipe' than 'concept') which sounds like something we would all think is fun. You could probably swap out the skewers for pretzel sticks if you want to keep the tykes away from sharp wooden skewers.

  • If your child has allergy issues you might want to check out Tori's ideas for gluten/casein-free snacks, or this list from Chicago Parent.

And here are other ideas from our household:

  • Jasper made the brilliant discovery of the vegetable hot dog. Okay, really it's a baby carrot nestled inside a celery stick, hot-dog style, but it's the first time I've seen him eat so much celery!

  • We all enjoy frozen grapes (minimize the choking hazard by cutting them in halves or quarters lengthwise). Josie likes to load them into an ice cube tray and wait for the 'frost fairy' to stop by. I'm not sure whether she really thinks that they're frozen with fairy magic, but they're tasty!

  • Banana or zucchini bread or muffins are a nice snack, and you can throw some chocolate chips in the batter if you're feeling generous. Top with a spread of cream cheese to up the protein content if you like.

  • Speaking of muffins, we like our mini-muffin pan, which makes fun, little muffins in a hurry. Each cup is perfectly filled by a cookie scoop!

  • Throw a tea or hot chocolate party with a few finger sandwiches, cinnamon toast, or muffins. We use a little teapot so the kids can serve themselves.

  • Popcorn is a tasty snack, and you can toss it with some buttermilk powder for some extra tang (and a bit of protein), or make caramel popcorn with peanuts for a treat.

  • Our kids will often make themselves a bit of trail mix in a plastic bag to snack on. They get a handful of some variety of cereal, a few nuts, some raisins or dried cranberries, maybe a dried plum, then munch on it through the afternoon.

  • Mini pizzas with mini bagels or english muffins as a base.

  • When I was a kid my mom and I often made energy balls. I re-discovered the recipe and they're delicious! I especially like that they have a lot of protein, since it really keeps us going. They're easy to mix up and a nice recipe to put together with the kids:

Energy Balls

1 c. dry milk

1 c. oatmeal

1/2 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. honey

crushed peanuts, wheat germ, flaked coconut, ground flax meal (optional

Mix honey and peanut butter together, then stir in dry milk and oatmeal. Form into balls, then roll in peanuts, wheat germ, coconut, or flax meal if you like. Keep refrigerated!
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