Treats can be healthy, too!
Inexpensive, Healthy Snacks for Kids
by Dollar Stretcher Readers
Super Summer Snacks 'n Fun
Looking for Healthy Snacks for Kids
I'd like to have some recipes for healthy afterschool and weekend snacks. Got all the cookie/brownies recipes I think I'd ever need in this lifetime OR the next--and fruit gets old also--and is more a "filler" around the edges between snack and dinner time--not that long a stretch but 2 kids in elementary school who get released at 2 different times can be hard to feed. And of course they need to be very economical and quick. I dont' think it's a impossible challenge--but while this is a "baking" pregnancy--there's still a limit to the time I'll cook.
Susan W. of SugarLand, TX
Never Empty Veggie Platter
My kids are ravenous when they come home from school and if I am not careful then they eat way too much snack and don't want any dinner. One of our favorite healthy snacks is a big crudite platter. I cut up carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, broccoli, lightly steamed green beans and include a dip made from cottage cheese and Ranch salad dressing whirred up in the blender. They eat that very willingly and I count it as their Veggie servings for the day.
My kids like fruit better if it is cut into fruit salad and they eat their fruit servings then too. Some other snacks are mini muffins (banana, blueberry, bran) that can be put in the freezer and quickly defrosted, tortilla with cream cheese and sliced veggies rolled up and sliced, tortilla with salad and dressing rolled up, peanuts/dried fruit mix, popcorn, refrigerated bread sticks (I brush them with a little tomato sauce and then sprinkle with basil and garlic before I bake). It's hard to keep those little tummies filled up!
Proteins and Carbs
I feed five children after school. Kid favorites are cheese and crackers, veggies with dip, granola type bars, animal crackers (buy giant 3 lb bag at warehouse). Graham crackers with peanut butter, celery with peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log). Apples with cheese or peanut butter. Pretzels (again giant bag from warehouse). Of course, my group does like fruit, bananas are filling, melon etc. I try to avoid concentrated sweets. The theme for us seems to mix some protein and carbs to last. Hence, snacks get washed down with milk if there is not alot of protein in the snack or juice if they are having cheese or peanut butter.
mom of four, babysitter of one.
Start With Tortillas
Great healthy snacks start with inexpensive tortillas. My kids like a little grated cheese melted on a tortilla. I fold it and cut it in wedges. They dip it in salsa. If they don't like salsa, it is good without. We have also used leftovers like tuna or egg salad, sloppy joe filling, peanut butter and jelly, chili or whatever. The tortillas do not fill them up as much as a sandwich with bread and I think the reason they like them so much is the small triangle shapes. It is very easy to heat any of these when they are needed.
Dried Fruit and Nuts
A very delicious and healthy snack is soy nuts (unsalted) mixed with raisin, chopped dates or any favorite dried fruit and nuts of choice. I usually have raisins, dates, walnuts, almonds and soy nuts. Don't tell people there are soy nuts, (and use lots of them) they will just think they are "regular" nuts.
This is not only a good snack for the entire family, it is wonderful for those of us who have "power surges", it cuts down or eliminates them. Also, you can use these nuts for any other nut mix. I also do hot and spicy and a pumpkin pie spice version.
Sandi R. of Keene, NH
We usually don't eat dinner until around 6:30 so a rather hearty snack is nice for my kids when they come home from school hungry. I like to take some spare time on a weekend to make up a big batch of these mini pizzas and freeze them individually. The ingredients are very simple:
a tube of refrigerator biscuits
canned pizza sauce
You can add any other toppings you want. I like to use thin slices of hot dogs or smokey links. Inexpensive thin sliced ham or any lunchmeat also works well. Of course, pepperoni is a favorite. Just smash the biscuits flat, top them however you want, bake them until the cheese melts and they look done. This usually takes about 8 minutes, depending on how much topping you use. The items you buy for toppings really goes a long way because it only takes a little for each biscuit. These mini pizzas can be heated in the microwave for a few seconds for a great after school snack. My husband works second shift so I even make him his own batch with hot peppers and mushrooms for his after work snack!
We take a six-cupcake tin and put a different treat in each cupcake spot. Some choices include: cheese cubes, vegetables, cereal, raisins or fruit, yogurt, pretzels, crackers, nuts, pieces of bagel etc. The kids like the fact that they have a wide array of things and can pick and choose. What isn't used is covered and the following day we add new selections. Sometimes I end up having to eat things that have been passed over for two days, but I find my kids eating more healthy options and being refueled after a long day without spoiling their appetite for dinner.
One my 3 girls liked was mini fruit and cheese kabobs. Using toothpicks as skewers,thread on fruit and cheese of your choice. Mine liked pinneapple,stawberries and chunks of mozzerella. Or try grapes,cheddar and apples. The choices are endless and you can cater to each child's taste. I made a big batch and stuck them in a container in the fridge, down low where they could reach. Use seasonal or canned fruit and big chunks of cheese, which you can cube down to size. They never last long. If the children are very young watch the toothpicks!
Take the Next Step:
- If one of your goals for your family is to cook more healthful meals then you'll want to read Healthy Foods Ezine. Each week you'll find 'Nutrition 101', an introduction to a new food, plus a recipe.
- Check out our coupon page and save money on your favorite products. click here
- Read more simple recipes for kids' snacks
- Try these recipes for meals kids love
- Add the appropriate snacks to your grocery list and pricebook
Discuss "Cheap Snacks" in The Dollar Stretcher Community
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor: Click Here
Also in Family
- Frugal graduation gift ideas
- Inexpensive backyard play areas
- 3 tips to teach kids about money
- Contain veterinary costs for your pet
- Grocery items you can find on sale in April
- How to rein in a spending spouse
- Make your own baby food
- 4 free apps that help you save