There are as many easy afternoon snacks that your child can make as there are creative minds and available food supplies in your home. Keep a good stock of fresh, packaged, canned and frozen foods in your pantry and freezer and let your children create their own afternoon snack masterpieces!
In addition to encouraging your children to make their own afternoon snacks, also encourage them to include healthy and nutritious foods in those snacks, educating them early on about the importance of healthy eating and healthy living.
Easy and nutritious afternoon snacks
- A bowl of cereal with some low-fat, skim or whole milk always makes a great afternoon snack and certainly is very easy to prepare. Add some sliced bananas or fresh berries on top and your child has put together a quick and wholesome afternoon snack.
- A bowl of soup is another easy afternoon favourite, especially when accompanied by a scrumptiously oozing grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- Anything that goes on crackers, bread, bagels or inside a sandwich works well as an easy afternoon snack. For a change, encourage your child to prepare some tuna, chicken, ham or egg salad. Spread on bread or crackers, add a glass of milk or juice and your child has prepared a great snack.
- A plate of cut-up fruits or veggies also makes an excellent afternoon snack, healthy and won’t spoil your child’s appetite for dinner. Depending on the age and dexterity of your child, your assistance may be required during the cutting process. An easy yoghurt or veggie dip would add a delicious side touch.
- With some planning the night before, your child can prepare frozen yoghurt that will be ready for the next day’s snack. Suggest that your child experiment with small pieces of fruit or nuts that can be added to the yoghurt before freezing.
- Foods such as boxed macaroni and cheese, canned pasta and other pre-made stove-top or microwaveable foods always taste good and are very easy to prepare. Young children should be supervised when using the stove or microwave.
- Frozen snacks such as pizza bites, chicken nuggets, and even frozen entrees, are easy to prepare and are usually very tasty. Although not the most nutritious of snacks, on occasion your child can enjoy preparing and devouring these easily prepared foods.
- Pizza is just about everyone’s favourite snack or meal, regardless of age. Keep a supply of prepared pizza bases handy, along with some canned pizza sauce and grated cheese, and your children can whip up a pizza at any time for themselves or when having friends visit after school. Add some sliced pepperoni, sausage or veggies and your child has created a very tasty and nutritious snack.
- If your child has developed a more mature palate and wants to impress his or her friends, a prawn cocktail is a great afternoon snack, low in calories, full of protein and very easy to prepare. Keep a supply of pre-cooked prawns on hand and some cocktail sauce. Homemade cocktail sauce is also very easy to make – mix one cup of ketchup with one tablespoon of horseradish, add a squeeze of lemon, chill and voila!
- For the younger children who typically love anything with a silly name, show them how to prepare “ants on a log”, also called “bumps on a log”. This is easy recipe kids enjoy making and also eating. Use celery stalks about 3-6 inches long, spread the insides with cream cheese or peanut butter, add some raisins or peanuts into the spread, and your child has created a fun, budget-friendly and nutritious snack. Chocolate-flavoured hazelnut spread also works well for this recipe and is a favourite on bread or toast also.
Encourage your children to come up with their own creative ideas for afternoon snacks. Also, encourage them to occasionally help prepare the family dinners. Introducing your children early on to the vast array of foods and recipes, both domestic and international, will give them a love and appreciation for both food and cooking, and also help prepare them to become self-sufficient young adults as they prepare to leave the nest.