Snacks for the kids to attack

Snacks for the kids to attack

Be prepared for an attack of the after-school munchies, writes Grant Jones.

It’s  all too easy to depend on a bag of chips, sugary fruit wraps and cheese-and-cracker snack packs as an emergency measure as kids tumble into the kitchen after school and dump their bags on the floor.

While packaged «convenience» foods come in handy, there are far better snack options for growing bodies. When they come in famished, being prepared to feed them fast is the key.

«Arrange a snack-attack shelf in the pantry and fridge from which the children can choose. Keep it fresh and simple, and quick to grab or assemble,» says Kids Food Talk website nutritionist, Brisbane-based Trudy Williams.

Fruity beauty

  • Frozen orange wedges and grapes are a cool carbboosting refresher after outdoor playing.
  • Create frozen yoghurt and pureed fruit icy-poles instead of ice cream.
  • Blend frozen mango pieces, berries and banana with superchilled milk or yoghurt for a healthy, colourful slushie.
  • Try low-fat natural yoghurt sweetened naturally with chopped fruit or frozen berries. If your child has no allergies, sprinkle with nuts or seeds.
  • A small handful of dried fruit and cheese cubes is a power-packed snack.
  • Make snack bags of trail mixes with cereal, dried fruits, nuts and just a few flecks of grated chocolate, or for a special treat, add crispy pieces of freeze-dried fruit.

Chop chop

You will find that children are likely to eat twice as much fruit if the seeds are removed, the fruit is chopped, has a sprinkling of fresh berries and is served with a dollop of yoghurt. Try either natural or Greek yoghurt as it is much better for them.

Top of the muffin

Trudy, also the author of This = That: Child Size suggests a makeover for homemade muffins.

«Use half wholemeal flour, reduce the sugar content, use a healthy, mild-flavoured oil such as sunflower, instead of butter, add pureed banana or pineapple or apple for
moisture, and fruit or muesli for texture. Bake them in a small, cupcake size or in a minimuffin tray instead of the big six-hole muffin pan,» she says.

Use a muesli containing pepitas, sunflower seeds, almonds and sultanas which will help stop energy levels from flagging before dinner.

Fresh muffins can be frozen in freezer bags for up to two months. Take them out of the freezer in the morning to thaw in the fridge and be ready to eat in the afternoon.

Dip in

If you get children eating healthy snacks from an early age, it’s likely they will continue eating well.

Whipping up a batch of hommus from drained and rinsed tinned chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and roasted garlic blended together to form a smooth paste is a
simple dip that will last in the fridge for the duration of the school week.

Avoid adding salt to the mix and try to use grainy/ wholemeal low-salt crackers, which have less than 120mg sodium per 100g. Many of the crackers available will undo all the good work of the healthy hommus. It’s even better with carrot and celery sticks.

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