Learning in a classroom works up a good appetite. So do after-school athletics, clubs, and general goofing around. This means that when that last school bell rings in the afternoon, your kids are hungry.
Supper may be several hours off, but your kids want to eat NOW! Are you stretched for ideas?
Snacks to Keep on Hand
If asked, the kids will suggest you to stock up on chips, soda, and cookies. These are okay every now and then but it's a far better and healthier idea to have good-tasting but more nourishing foods on hand.
These include foods such as fruit, cheese, crackers, popcorn, milk, and juice. These require little or no prepartion and are far more healthful than "junk food."
Cottage cheese, peanut butter, jam, and honey all are delicious spread on crackers and toast. Both peanut butter and honey pair nicely with fruits such as apples and bananas.
Hungry kids may want nothing less than a big, fat sandwich. For these, keep low-fat sandwich meats, sliced cheese, and tuna fish on hand. Lettuce and tomatoes add texture, taste, and moisture to sandwiches.
Hummus and healthful dips such as yogurt-based ones are great with baked chips, crackers, and pretzels. They are even better eaten with carrot and celery sticks, sliced bell peppers, and sliced mushrooms. For convenience, buy pre-cut veggies at the supermarket.
Individually-packaged servings of flavored yogurt, puddings, and Jell-o are relatively good-for-you snacks. Frozen yogurt and fruit pops are also tempting when your kids want something sweet.
Even in the afternoon, many children are satisfied with a bowl of breakfast cereal, particularly if topped with sliced berries or bananas. They also like frozen waffles drizzled with syrup.
Snacks You Make
Lots of kids are old enough to use the microwave, the stove, or the oven. If so, they might want to make mini English muffin pizzas, tortillas, or tacos.
English muffin pizzas should be topped with a few spoofuls of spaghetti sauce and shredded low-fat cheese. This keeps them fairly healthful and totally yummy.
Tortillas, pitas, and taco shells all are great for warm sandwiches and wraps. Stay away from fillings that include sour cream or lots of cheese. Instead, let the kids fill the tortillas with low-fat shredded cheese, smoked turkey, tuna, tomatoes, sprouts, peppers, salsa, and lettuce all make tasty healthful, and easy-to-manage fillings.
By stocking up on healthful but kid-friendly foods, your hungry hoardes will quell their late-afternoon hunger pangs without filling up on candy and other sticky stuff.
Once satisfied, they can concentrate on homework, soccer practice, or, equally likely, hanging around the kitchen asking: "Hey Mom, what's for supper?"