When our four children were young we were given advice from a friend who had started her family of 4 about 10 years before we did. Her advice? Carrots and celery. Buy them in bulk we were told, and feed them to the kids during the “hunger” stage about an hour and a half before dinner. As it turned out, Ellen, my wife became known for her “brilliant” way of getting our kids to eat vegetables. We expanded from the celery and carrots and included broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, and peppers. To this day all four children continue their learned pattern of being good vegetable eaters. But, best of all – we gave our children healthy food and saved loads of money by avoiding expensive, sugar laden “snacks”. Here are several thoughts on healthy and inexpensive alternative snacks for children:
Vegetables with dressing simply slice the vegetables – including carrots, celery, green bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. – even green beans and peas! Put them out when your children are looking for something to eat. A small bowl of ranch dressing or other type of dressing on the side.
Fun fruit No, I don’t mean the commercial fruit skins, I mean good old fashioned fruit – apples bananas, oranges, etc. with a fun twist. You can make your fruit fun by creating master pieces! We would make furniture, cars, people, even Mickey Mouse! Fruit and yogurt is also good.
Peanuts and . . . Popcorn (avoid microwave type – high in fat) or cheerios or dried fruit, etc.
Ants on a log Celery with peanut butter and raisins. Kids love to make these simple treats. There is something about enjoying food more when personally prepared.
Toast Yes toast. My kids loved English muffins or toast. They would put apple butter or cinnamon or just good old butter on top.
Jell-O with fruit Because we would have to make this ahead of time it became a special treat. One of our children did not like the texture of the fruit in their jell-O, but everyone else loved it.
Saltines with peanut butter This was the old standby. When all else was used up, when the pantry was bare we turned to saltines and peanut butter. Surprisingly they always loved the combination.
Mini pizzas You can use English muffins or even ritz crackers, top with sauce and cheese – place in toaster oven or microwave.
Oatmeal We would make it up slightly thin, then add some combination of the following: apples, cinnamon, raisins, etc.
Quick quesadilla Sprinkle cheese on a soft tortilla, roll up, place a tooth pick in if needed. Microwave. Serve with salsa.
Grilled cheese Who can turn down a grilled cheese? So simple nearly anyone can make it.
Smoothies My children did not like pure fruit until they were older. Blend the fruit with orange or apple juice and they loved them.
Do you have an easy, fun and inexpensive after school snack? Share below.
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