If you’re like many parents, that little stretch of time after school and before dinner is your busiest time of day. Who has time to fix healthy snacks between soccer practice, cello lessons and every other errand on your plate?
With a few tips, you do! As you get into back-to-school mode this year, try a few of these simple snack ideas and see what works for you.
Make fresh fruits and veggies an easy option.
As soon as you’ve finished putting the groceries away each week, wash and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables for snacking. Cut melons, wash and de-stem berries, peel and slice carrots—all before they even make their way into your refrigerator. That way, reaching for a healthy snack during the school week will be just as effortless as grabbing a bag of potato chips. As a bonus, you may find that fewer fresh foods go to waste in your refrigerator because they’re more likely to be eaten.
Pre-package your own snacks.
Some snacks, like crackers, pretzels and popcorn, can be unhealthy when eaten in large quantities or with sugary or fatty additives, sauces or dips. A little preparation and portion control can make a world of difference.
- Try parceling out crackers and peanut butter in air-tight containers or bagging pretzels into snack-sized portions. It’s easy for kids to eat much more than they need—or even want—if they’re eating out of a bag or box.
- Swap out cheese dips or dressings for fresh salsa or yogurt dip.
- If your kids like microwave popcorn, try popping your own kernels in a microwave popper or a paper bag instead of buying the pre-packaged kind. You’ll be able to control what kind and how much (if any) oil is added, how much you pop and any flavorings you want to include. Just mix up a batch of kernels and seasoning, divide them into snack portions and pop as needed. You may eliminate a lot of packaging waste and save money in the process!
Ready for more ideas? Check out part 2 of this story!