Wow, this is a title where there's really not much more to add. And with the way that kids love peanut butter and jelly this snack takes absolutely no bribery. Essentially I just took my kids favorite food and turned it into a smoothie, making it a great snack when the heats on. It's also a little protein shake for kids, so it's a snack that will fill them up and keep them going for awhile. Moreover you're almost assured to have a helper chef in the kitchen anytime the blender is involved, so it's a snack that's also an activity.
Please feel free to use other types of nut butters if your kids have peanut allergies. Almond, cashew and sunflower butter are great alternatives. You can also use whatever berries are cheapest and more palatable for your kids. Around here last week strawberries were on sale, but this week it's raspberries and either one works well in this recipe.
You can also use regular milk as opposed to soy, but you'll loose some flavor since the soy milk in this recipe is vanilla flavored and soy tastes sweeter than regular milk. It also has plant protein, which adds in with all the protein naturally found in peanut butter, and if you buy the fortified kind is as high in calcium and vitamin D as milk. It's also high in riboflavin, vitamin B12 and magnesium, and also has lower amounts of several other minerals you won't find in a glass of cow's milk.
Finally you can also use regular yogurt as opposed to Greek style, but we're addicted to the thickness and creamy tastes of Greek yogurt. All in all, whenever you add peanut butter to a kid's snack your golden, so I'm sure that this will be right up your families alley even if you need to make some modifications. I hope that everyone enjoys this recipe!
PB and J smoothies
Total time: 5-8 minutes
1 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup plain Greek style yogurt
10-12 strawberries, depending on size, tops removed
3 tablespoons peanut butter (chunky OK)
1 cup ice
Blend the above ingredients in your blender until they are smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy!
I've had salad on the brain all week, so I figured it was time to make a soup. What can I say- soup and salad are staples around the house when nature turns the thermostat up. The only problem is that it's almost 100 degrees outside, so a hot soup is out of the question. But if gazpacho feeds the masses in Spain, why not try another cold vegetable soup?
For me cucumbers equate with summer. That's when they are in season, and they are such a refreshing vegetable since they contain so much water. They have vitamins A, C and folic acid, although these are pretty much limited to the skin. They also have silica, which is a mineral that strengthens connective tissue. I also found this interesting when I was researching the nutritional benefits of cucumbers: they have ascorbic and caffeic acids, which reduce water retention, hence the reason they work so well on swollen eyes. So not only can you make your kids a tasty snack with them, you can give yourself a little spa treatment in the interim.
This soup has yogurt since I'm always trying to sneak more calcium into my kids snacks for those growing bones It's pretty light and goes great with whole grain crackers, or in our case pita crackers. I hope your family enjoys it, I'm packing some more for my munch today!
Cool cucumber soup
Prep: 5-10 minutes
3 large cucumbers, peeled and quartered
2 green onions, chopped roughly (white and green parts)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek style)
juice from one lemon
salt and white pepper, to taste
Combine all of the above in a blender and puree until smooth. Serve cold or room temp with crackers.
Alright so I still have salads on the brain. What can I say, they just seem perfect this time of year.
Have your kids tried couscous? We love pearl (or also called Israeli) couscous. It i larger than traditional couscous and is easier for tiny fingers to handle. It also have a chewier texture since it is toasted instead of dried (which is how traditional couscous is made). Typically it's made from semolina wheat flour, so it has fiber, iron and protein. With all these benefits it's a great food to introduce to your families diets.
You can pair couscous with just about anything, but here's a recipe for a slightly sweet salad. We added chopped mango since my kids love mangos and they really compliment this light, chewy pasta. Mangoes add in vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron and potassium. If you want to make it a meal you can also add in chicken and a veggie.
I hope that your kids enjoy this iron- rich (yet still meat free!) snack.
Mango pearl couscous salad
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
1 cup pearl couscous
1 cup water
1 mango, pitted and chopped
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan add on cup of pearl couscous. Toast over medium heat until the pearls begin to turn golden. Then add one cup of water and bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
Add mango and salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil to loosen the pasta up. Serve warm, cold or room temp.
Add in chopped mago
A perfect summertime snack
Summer is coming, as evident by the rising temperatures and the call of the barbecue. For me, nothing says summer like salads. So here's a quick and easy caprese-style salad (tomatoes with mozzarella) that you can make while your kids are playing in the pool. That's what I did while my kids splashed around in our plastic kiddie pool, that way they had a snack waiting when they wanted to warm up in the sun.
Do your kids like string cheese? Mine do, so we always have a stockpile in the fridge. My kids can open it up and grab a stick when they're hungry and they have a handy snack that is full of calcium. It's also versatile in snacks since it's mozzarella, which tasted terrific with tomatoes. Add in cucumbers,, and you have a perfect summertime snack that's also full of vitamins C, A and K, potassium and antioxidants. I hope that your kiddos like it.
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
3 sticks of string cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch coins
! cucumber, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
15 grape tomatoes, cut in half
juice from half a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped basil
Combine the above ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!
Plain yogurt rocks.
It's high in protein, probiotics and calcium while low in sugar. And without all that sugar, there's more room for all the things that make yogurt good for your kids. If you've ever checked out the back of a flavored yogurts, they can be high in sugar at best and at worst they can also be chalked full of artificial sweeteners and dyes. I'm sorry but yogurt was not meant to be key lime pie flavored, and by the way key lime pie shouldn't be green, just like your yogurt shouldn't be pastel.
Now here comes the challenge- how do you get your kids to eat it? It's easy for babies since they don't know just how sweet yogurt can be. But for older kids it can be a challenge. You can always drizzle honey or a little maple syrup on it, but another great and healthier alternative is sweetening it with a little fruit. If you let it sit in the fridge overnight, then the juices and fructose in the fruit can really flavor the yogurt without drowning out the tangy flavor yogurt naturally has, so you're kids will like it and they'll also get some vitamin C with all that calcium.
I hope that your kids like this snack- it's great for a morning snack or packed with an ice pack in a lunch box. Enjoy!
Prep: 2 minutes
1 cup plain yogurt
4-6 diced strawberries, depending on size
4 pitted and diced medjool dates
Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl, cover then let sit in the fridge overnight. When ready to eat it mix together thoroughly so that the flavors can combine.
Whoo hoo- the Spring semester is finally over! For the last two weeks all my spare time has been devoted to grading, working, quizzing, more grading.. but now my grades have been submitted to the college and I can get back my favorite (though certainly less profitable) thing- thinking about snacks. And I now have a new snacker to consider- my toddling one year old.
My kids go to a daycare that doesn't provide food, thus I need to pack lunches and keep my baby's snack cubby stocked. I prefer it this way- I know that they are getting a balanced, processed foods-free meal and I can tell how much they ate when I open their lunch boxes at the end of the day. But I haven't packed toddler snacks in a few years, so I'm currently on the prowl for foods that are toddler friendly but can also double as a great snack for my four year old. Call me cheap, but I don't buy food just for babies, I think that it's a needless and expensive market aimed at emptying your wallet. There are plenty of foods available at the grocery store that are great for toddlers and tasty for the rest of the family too.
That all being said, have you tried Pirate Booty? My daughter loves the name and these rice/corn puffs dissolve readily in your mouth, making for a great snack for a toddler that's not well versed in chewing. They are made from corn meal and rice and don't have additives or fillers like a lot of other crunchy snacks. Even my husband and I love the stuff, so it's definitely family friendly.
For my babies weekly snack I packed a tupperware with pirate booty and snapea crisps. Once again, these snap peas are tasty for everyone but can dissolve easily. Since they are made from peas they have protein, vitamin C, calcium and iron. so not only are they good for your kids, they are also fun to eat and not bitter like peas can sometimes be.
I hope that your family enjoys this tasty combo.
Snap pea booty
Prep time: seconds
In a bowl combine 2 cups pirate booty (any flavor will do) with 1 cup snap pea crisps (again, any flavor works). Enjoy!
It may not come as a suprise but I'm a Katie Brown fan. So when I saw this youtube video I thought I'd pass it along to everyone. Afterall, summer is just around the corner and watermelon season will be here before you know it. So why not entice your kids into eating a healthy fruit with a cute little elephant?
So what's so great about watermelon? They have vitamin C, vitamin A and lycopene. Watermelons have antioxidants, which help clear the body of problemative reactive oxygen species. That amounts to better cellular functioning. And nothing says summer like a nice, juicy slice of watermelon.
Just a couple of suggestions- if you don't have a cutter like she does for the eyes you can try blueberries instead. You can also use large, thick cut orange slices for the ears. Finally you can cut off the bottom of the melon so that the watermelon lays flat on your platter, then use that piece for your tail and trunk slices. Enjoy!
Here's a snack that takes the mess out of mangoes. Now maybe your kids eat mangoes without getting juice everywhere, but at my house mango juice is on faces, hands, floors and the walls if I'm not vigilant. And you can forget packing it for a picnick- no room in the pack for a Tupperware and it'll just get smashed in a bag. So why not try drying mango strips in your oven so that you can transport them later or eat them immediately, mess-free?
Around here we love mangoes. Also known as the king of fruits, mangoes are a great snack for kids. They are high in vitamin C, vitamin B6,copper, potassium, vitamin A and fiber. Moreover they taste great so its not hard to get your kids to eat them.
For this recipe, the cooking time really depends on how thick you slice the mango. Somewhere around a 1/4" makes it so there's still a little juice in the middle after you cook them , If you cut them thinner, reduce your cooking time. Also try to cut your strips so that they're even, if you have thinner areas (like the edges) then they'll brown faster. I hope that your kiddos like them!
Dried mango strips
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 45-60 minutes, depending on strip thickness
1 large mango
Preheat oven to 250F.
With a pairing knife, peel the mango so that the rind is removed. Then shave off 1/4 inch thick slices. Place them on a metal cooling rack, then place the rack into the oven. Bake 45-60 minutes, or until outside is thoroughly dried. Enjoy!