My publishing network is currently running a make ahead meals feature (shown at the top here), and it got me thinking about some make ahead snacks. As quick as some snacks are to make, sometimes you don't even have 5 minutes to put it all together. These parfait shakers can be made beforehand, stuck in the fridge, and mixed up when the kids get home from school. Perfect for when you're just walking in the door and need a snack right that minute.
Why are these shakers? When you're read to eat them, simply shake like crazy to blend and meld the flavors. Yup, this is a snack that's also an activity for hyperactive kiddos. You want to wait til right before eating to mix otherwise the granola will get soggy.
Aside from the joy of shaking the heck out of your mason jar you also are helping break up the fruit and mix the honey for a really well flavored yogurt treat.Any softer fruit, like peaches and berries, work really well for this since they'll break apart in the shaking process.
Peaches were in my co-op basket this week, so that's what I used but they're also great with ripe strawberries.You can also use regular yogurt as opposed to Greek, I just like the extra creaminess and higher protein content of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is strained so that excess liquid is removed, which results in a thick, high protein snack. In fact 1 cup of a good quality Greek yogurt (I buy Fage) has 23g of protein, while regular yogurt has 11-13g. That will result in a snack that will satisfy hungry kids for longer.
The only caveat is that you do need to check the protein content of the Greek yogurt before you buy it, some are labeled Greek yogurt but have the same amount as protein as regular yogurt.Enjoy!
Yogurt parfait shakers
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 parfait
6 oz mason jars with lid (or another small sealing container)
4 oz plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 oz sliced and halved peaches
2 tablespoons granola
Add yogurt to mason jar, then tap down smartly on the counter. Add honey and repeat tapping. Add peaches and press down with your fingertips slightly. Add granola, and again tap, making sure that contents are packed compactly. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just prior to serving shake up for a minute or two jars to mix contents.
Here's a really quick snack that uses apples, peanut butter (or another nut or seed butter will work, like almond) and granola. In just three ingredients you have these cute little wheels that are also fun to eat. And by combining fruit, peanuts and whole grains you have a really balanced snack with a little more protein and fiber so that your kids will be good to go until the next meal.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: ~ 4 wheels, depending on the size of your apple
1 apple, sliced latitudinally into 1/2 inch slices
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup granola
Arrange apples on a plate. Spread on peanut butter and sprinkle with granola. Serve immediately.
Cottage cheese goes pretty quickly in our house. It's just a matter of scooping a bowlful out of the container and you've got a ready made snack with little fuss, which can be really handy right after school. It's also mild in flavor, which means it can be paired with some tasty partners.
Cottage cheese is a great snack for the whole family. Here are some of the highlights:
- It's low in calories and low in fat if you purchase the reduced fat varieties. Even if you don't go that route, a 1/2 cup serving of full fat cottage cheese only has 5 g fat.
- In a half cup serving, it has 14 g of protein, making it a high protein snack that will hold your kids over til the next meal.
- It's low in sugar, with only 3g per 1/2 cup serving.
So if you don't have a container of cottage cheese in your fridge, maybe you should put it on the shopping list. Here are some great ways to make it a tasty snack it even more nutritional value:
1. Sprinkle it on: To boost the nutrient content of your cottage cheese, try sprinkling on a some nutrient packed toppings like wheat germ, flax meal or chia seeds.
2. Spice it up: For more flavor add a dash of spice to the top- we like to use cinnamon.
3. Fruit medley: Add berries, peaches, mangoes or dried fruit for a sweet and savory snack with added vitamins.
4. Use it as a stuffer: We love to stuff apricots, figs and cucumbers with cottage cheese for a pretty snack that has the added bonus of an edible bowl.
5. Seasonal fruit butters: Top with apple butter for a hearty Fall snack. Other options are fruit-filled jams that don't have added sugar.
Here's a fun way to replace jam with real fruit and make a pretty cool looking snack- make Pb and fruit rolls. When we first made these my daughter thought that they looked like sushi sandwiches. We had a blast making them, seeing as anything that involves a rolling pin is an automatic bonus in our kitchen.
Depending on where you get your jam, you can sometimes run into artificial sweeteners and way too much sugar in your pb and j's. I've always thought it odd that jam can have high fructose corn syrup or even sugar; fruit by itself is pretty sweet. So instead of overdoing on the sugar-front we used actual fruit, chopped bananas and strawberries to be exact.
As always feel free to use a seed butter or another type of nut butter if peanut butter doesn't work for your kiddos. We switch off between sunflower, peanut and almond butter. Personally I love sunflower butter, it's great alternative for kids with nut allergies and becoming more widely available.
PB and fruit rolls
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: 8 rolls
2 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries
1/2 cup finely chopped bananas
Cut the crusts off of the bread. With a rolling pin roll the bread until it is roughly as thick as a slice pita bread.
Spread on peanut butter evenly . Distribute fruit between the slices, leaving 1/2 inch border on one side of the bread, then press fruit down with your palms. Roll tightly, starting with your fruit end and ending with the fruit-free border so that your peanut butter acts as a glue. It should look like a burrito.
Trim off the ends. Then cut into four rolls per bread slice. Serve immediately.
First off sorry it's been awhile since I've posted anything, you know how life gets in the way. Regardless here's an idea that we use everyday around our house.
My kiddos are in daycare and preschool until the early afternoon and they come home hungry. We have about three hours between school and dinner, and they need a snack to hold them over that won't overdo it. So here's a way to spruce up your kids after school snack and diversify that daily diet.
When my kids get home we make a snack platter. Now don't get me wrong with the platter part of that. This isn't some overflowing bounty of food. It's three small food groups combined so that my kids get a snack that includes foods from a few different groups. The platter part of it comes from putting these foods out on a tray that they can pick from at will.
Typically I use one fruit, one dairy and one whole grain. However sometimes I'll swap in a vegetable or a protein. Either way the end result is that my kids get multiple food groups in one snack. The only caveat is not to make your platter too full. Keep in mind that snacks should be about 100 calories per child. With my two kids I shoot for ~200 calorie platters, and to make that mark a little easier to hit I'll use dipping cups and ramekins to limit portion size.
Here are a few days worth of our platters for some ideas:
Energy bar, frozen fruit and cheese slices
I always keep a bag of frozen berries in the freezer for smoothies and it can really be a snack saver at the end of the week when I need to go grocery shopping. Then I added some cheese slices and chopped Lara bar to balance it out.
Banana slices, peanut butter yogurt dip and whole grain mini muffins
is meant for the bananas, but my daughter likes will eat it with a spoon if there's any left. I used Aussie bites in this platter, but any whole grain muffin will do.
Pomegranate seeds, snapea crisps and yogurt chive sauce
This is a great way to utilize your kid's food prep skills in the kitchen and keep them occupied- let them prep you pomegranate while you get the rest of the platter ready. Just cut the pomegranate in half and then pull the fruit into a few sections. Soak in a large bowl with water and have your kids pull out the seeds and drop them into the bowl. The seeds will sink to the bottom and any residual membrane will float to the top. For the yogurt sauce just mix Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.