• 79°

After school snacks

By By Lisa Tindell
School has started and it's time to start thinking about some after school snacks.
With most parents holding down jobs that keep them away from home until after 5 p.m., it's a sure bet that the dinner hour won't be at 6 p.m. Since that is the case in most homes, including mine, I certainly can't imagine children going without some sort of snack in the afternoon.
My son eats lunch at his school around 11 a.m. and if I don't serve dinner until almost 7 p.m., that would mean his tummy would be growling during that eight-hour stretch of time. For that reason, I have found it necessary to provide some sort of snack for him to have when he gets home from school around 3:30 each afternoon.
Finding snacks that he likes and that I'm satisfied is healthy and will give him some energy has been a difficult task. I have found, however, that if I allow him to make some of the choices when we shop or prepare for snack time, he's more likely to consume what I provide.
Of course great afternoon snacks include fruit such as apples, grapes, strawberries and such. I try to limit some of these simply because of sugar. But since it is natural sugar I don't feel as bad for him have a cup full of grapes as I would if he ate a handful of chocolate-chip cookies.
If you're looking for some alternatives to high fat, high-calorie after school snacks, you may want to try some of these ideas. And remember, if you let the children get in on the planning and preparation, the more they will enjoy eating something healthy.
Cinnamon Raisin Spread
1 cup fat free cream cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons white sugar
One-half cup raisins
Place fat free cream cheese, cottage cheese, cinnamon and white sugar in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in raisins. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving.
This recipe is great on bagels, crackers or even white bread slices. If your child is old enough to be trusted with a toaster, toasting the bagel or bread makes the spread even better.
My son loves strawberries and I don't really have a problem with him indulging once in a while. His favorite way to eat them is simply washed and hulled and on a plate with a little whipped topping.
I certainly don't mind this snack, but I try to always serve the berries with the fat-free or at least reduced-fat whipped topping.
If peanut butter is one of child's favorite food groups, this next recipe should be perfect for their appetite. If you don't want your child using the stove for this next recipe, the microwave would probably work just fine.
Peanut Butter Quesadilla
1 teaspoon butter
1 (10 inch) flour tortilla
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons grape jelly
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Spread one side of the tortilla with peanut butter. Fold tortilla in half so that the peanut butter is on the inside. Place folded tortilla in the skillet, and heat 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Slice into wedges, and dip in the jelly to serve.
Don't forget the old Ants on a Log idea. It's simply a celery stick with the trench filled with peanut butter and sprinkled with raisins. Young folks love this one and it's one they can make themselves.
This next recipe was a little bit of a surprise to me, but it sounds really interesting. It also gives a little variety to the sweet-type snacks at home. It amazes me that children are becoming more and more interested in spicy and highly seasoned foods. Since this recipe has a ranch dressing taste to it, the kids will surely be please. You can adjust the other seasonings to your child's likes and dislikes.
Zesty Pretzels
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
Three-fourths cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 (15 ounce) packages mini pretzels
In a small bowl, mix together cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, garlic salt, ranch-style dressing mix and vegetable oil. Place pretzels in a large, sealable plastic bag. Pour in mixture from bowl. Shake well. Allow pretzels to marinate in the mixture approximately 2 hours before serving. Shake occasionally to maintain coating.
I hope that some of these recipes give you some ideas on a couple of different after school snacks. If you have any ideas that you might be able to pass along to us, we'd love to share them with other mom's too!
Until next week, Happy Cooking!