Quick, Healthy After-School Snacks: Crunchy, Salty and Sweet!

March 12, 2010

Today we have a guest blog from Kim Stakal, a.k.a. The Green Gourmet.
Kim is a food writer, culinary/nutrition instructor, and recipe developer
living in Chicago. She received her culinary training at the Natural Gourmet
Institute for Health & Culinary Arts in NYC and has been exploring health
and good eats ever since. Check out her website at
www.the-green-gourmet.com.

Snacks The kids come home from school, and the first thing they want
is a snack. Sound familiar? It can be easy (or at least not too
difficult!) to keep your kids’ meals healthy when you cook them
yourself, but when it comes to mid-day and late-night snacks, it can
become tedious to figure out nutritious — and tasty — ideas. For kids
and adults alike, many of us have a particular type of snack attack
that hits. Some crave salty foods, some crave sweets, and some just
want something crunchy. Here are some fast, family-friendly snack ideas
organized into snack-attack category, so that you can hit the snack
craving with something both satisfying and healthy. Happy snacking!

Crunchy Snacks
:

  1. Light popcorn, or plain popcorn popped in paper bag in microwave with sea salt and your favorite spices
  2. Crunchy veggie sticks (like cucumber, carrot, celery, pepper, etc) and dip (hummus, bean dip or vinaigrette)
  3. Whole-grain cereal with dried fruits and nuts added
  4. Brown rice crackers with natural nut butter
  5. Homemade granola or muesli with soy milk
  6. Whole wheat or corn tortillas misted with olive oil, sprinkled with
    seasonings (cumin, paprika, red pepper, or garlic salt) and baked at
    400 degrees until crispy. Serve with salsa or bean dip.

Sweet Snacks:

  1. Organic yogurt and fruit (try mango or pineapple!) or nuts
  2. One chunk of dark chocolate with natural nut butter on top
  3. Fresh, whole fruit (for a warm treat, try baking the fruit and sprinkling with cinnamon and maple syrup!)
  4. Leftover grains (i.e. brown rice, quinoa, spelt) drizzled with maple
    syrup and cinnamon; add soy milk and bananas, heat and enjoy warm
    oatmeal-like porridge (or try grains cooked in fruit juice — apple or
    orange)
  5. Frozen yogurt — freeze your own!
  6. Sweet vegetables — yams, sweet potatoes, squashes (acorn, butternut,
    kabocha) — score with a knife, sprinkle cinnamon on them and bake
    until soft
  7. Banana, split lengthwise, with nut butter spread in the middle
  8. Low-fat cottage cheese and grapes or apples

Salty Snacks:

  1. Hard-boiled eggs lightly sprinkled with sea salt and paprika
  2. All-natural sauerkraut — it will also knock your craving right out!
  3. Chopped tomatoes, avocado, onion, olives, and basil
  4. Sardines packed in mustard, pesto, or salsa, on top of whole-grain crackers
  5. Tabouleh or hummus
  6. Roasted peanuts or other nuts (make your own trail mix!)
  7. Steamed and lightly salted edamame pods (soybeans)
  8. Greens with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and sesame seeds on them.

The wellness world was abuzz this week with a new report
showing that kids’ snacking has increased in the last two decades – all
the more reason to make sure that the snacks they do grab are healthy
and satisfying! 

What healthy snacks do you like to make yourself?