Easy-to-make snacks are an essential part of any busy parent's recipe collection. Whether you're short on time or the kids are absolutely starving, a selection of tasty, quick snacks will keep your children happy without requiring substantial preparation. Snack time also presents the perfect opportunity to provide your child with a serving or two of the 5 servings of fruits or vegetables recommended by the United States Surgeon General.
Dips provide an easy and fun way for kids to enjoy fruits and vegetables. Fresh vegetables dipped in low-fat ranch salad dressing or fruit dipped in yogurt can help stave off hunger. Other possible dip combinations include baked tortilla chips served with a bean dip, graham crackers dipped in applesauce, pita chips dipped in hummus or bread sticks dipped in salsa.
Peanut butter is a staple in many children's diets and can be a good option at snack time. Try spreading peanut butter in a piece of peeled celery. A row of raisins on top of the peanut butter transforms the snack into ants on a log. Peanut butter can be spread on whole wheat crackers or combined with jelly to make the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If your children don't like bread, they may like peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat English muffins. For a more unusual peanut butter treat, mix ¼ cup of cornflakes with ½ cup of peanut butter and roll the mixture in graham cracker crumbs. Peanut butter spread on apple slices provides both protein and vitamin C.
Smaller versions of lunch or dinner foods make healthy, quick snack options for your child. Microwave a baked potato and top it with reduced fat cheese and salsa. Use a sweet potato instead of a russet or red potato if your child likes the taste of sweet potatoes. A cup full of tomato soup or another variety of soup can be particularly filling on a cool day. For a more filling snack, spread tuna salad on an English muffin or roll, or stuff a pita pocket with lettuce, tomato and low-fat salad dressing. Add shredded cheddar cheese for extra flavor. Filled tortillas make good fast snacks. Place a slice of turkey on a tortilla. Add lettuce, cheese and mustard, if desired, and roll it up.
If you're too busy to make a snack, try a quick snack instead. A handful of Cheerios or other healthy cereal placed in a sandwich bag is a good choice when you're on the go. Low-fat pretzels and string cheese are easy, mess-free choices for times when you can't prepare more involved snacks.