Snacks & Treats
5 Healthy After-School Snacks Kids Can Make
By Julie Van Rosendaal, Dinner with Julie
Sep 8, 2015
If you have kids in school, you’re likely faced with the challenge of feeding them something delicious and suitably snacky when they arrive home at the end of the afternoon. Rather than scramble to find some granola bars in the back of the cupboard, take this opportunity to decompress together with some time in the kitchen— getting them involved in making their own snack is a perfect screen-free activity, and everyone will be well fed at the end.
Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie
This smoothie is reminiscent of a chocolate shake, with the benefit of a banana, protein boost from plain yogurt, and added fibre and healthy fats from the peanut or almond butter. Measurements don’t have to be precise—let kids spoon everything into the blender and press the button. If you want to make it even more substantial, add a spoonful of oats as well.
- 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- ½ cup milk
- 1 ripe banana, broken into chunks
- ¼ cup peanut or almond butter
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa
- 2 Tbsp. oats (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. honey, or to taste (if you used plain yogurt)
Combine everything in a blender and pulse to combine. If you used oats, let the smoothie sit for a few minutes after pulsing to let them soften, then pulse again until smooth.
If your kids like hummus, it makes a healthy snack, especially with extra veggies for dipping. Let them dump everything into the bowl of a food processor and press the button to blend it all together. It also makes a great vehicle for leftovers—try adding cold roasted or steamed veggies from the fridge—or, for boosting their intake of greens, a handful of parsley or baby spinach. This recipe makes a Lemon-Parsley Hummus. We like it with torn pieces of whole wheat pita and carrots, for dipping.
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped (leave the stems out) or a big handful of spinach
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- 2-3 tsp sesame oil
- pinch salt
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the parsley and olive oil until you get a rough sludge. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until as smooth as you like it; taste and adjust ingredients to suit your taste.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
Healthy(er) Peanut Butter & Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Kids love making cookies—and this formula will make use of overripe bananas, which lend sweetness in place of sugar. Kids will love mashing the ripe banana with a potato masher or fork, and because there’s no flour, there’s no risk of overmixing the dough.
- 3 large, very ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup all-natural (just peanuts) peanut butter, or almond butter
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 cups old-fashioned (large flake) or quick oats
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 – 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the peanut butter and canola oil using a potato masher or a fork. In another bowl stir together the oats, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients along with the chocolate and stir until combined.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, or one that is sprayed with nonstick spray, and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until just set.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
Quick Chocolate Fondue
Kids love dipping one food into another, and what kid doesn’t love chocolate? A quick fondue is easy to mix together—simply heat about half a cup of half & half or heavy cream on the stovetop until steaming, then add ¾ – 1 cup of chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips. Remove from the heat and let sit for a minute or two, then whisk until smooth. Serve with sliced banana, mandarin oranges and strawberries for dipping. This is particularly popular when your child comes home with a group of friends after school. If you don’t have a fondue pot, serve it in a bowl with bamboo skewers for dipping.
If your kids crave salty snacks, try roasting a can of chickpeas. At about a dollar a can, they’re healthier and more inexpensive than chips. Drain a 19 oz. (540 mL) can of chickpeas, rinse it well and drain in a colander. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet (dark, if you have one) and drizzle generously with canola or other mild vegetable oil. Roll around and toss with your hand to coat, then sprinkle with salt or seasonings of your choice. If you like a little spice, try chili powder, garlic powder, or a bit of grated lemon or lime zest. Roast at 450˚F for about 30 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice, until golden and crisp. Serve immediately, while still warm.
This post was originally published in January 2015.