Our term-time schedule is hectic and boy, do I feel ‘dumped in it’ after the school hols or even just a bank holiday long weekend! If it’s not an after-school club, there are swimming lessons, tutors, judo and dancing to name but a few! So, snacks at pick-up are essential to give them that energy boost that will get them through until tea time (healthy in a hurry main meals).
My kids have now gotten used to the fact that chocolate is not a snack! They occasionally have a whinge about another child getting a chocolate biscuit, but when K lectured her younger siblings on the reasons why (they were my words, coming out of her mouth), I knew that my persistence was beginning to pay off!! It is however, tricky to stick with the healthy, sugar free options when there are so many ready made products aimed at kids. These are the snacks that have been a hit with my lot and tick all the boxes for healthy eating with me too!
School pick-up snacks:
Generally, something savory and a piece of fruit:
- Bread sticks- Plain, whole wheat, sesame (sometimes with humous/ guacamole/ tomato dip)
- Mini cheddars
- Pop corn- Always cooked at home, it’s so quick, easy and cheap. Simply place 1 tbsp kernels in a saucepan over a medium heat and cover with a well-fitting (preferably glass) lid, wait, listen & watch! Once the popping slows down to one-at-a-time, take it off the heat- done!
- Small pot of nuts and seeds- though I’m paranoid about choking so would not allow these driving along.
- Mini salad pot- cucumber and carrot sticks (sometimes with dips) or olives and cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Dried fruits- raisins, apricots, figs, dates, sultanas (unsweetened)
Tip: Sultanas are a really cheap alternative to raisins! I buy a big bag and put them into pots myself and no ones noticed yet!! For more money-saving food ideas, check out Feeding the Family Frugally.
I also keep granola bars handy or homemade flapjacks/ oat biscuits (if I’ve had the time), mainly for bribery or reward!!
I’m lucky that my tribe all love fruit, so my issue is usually curbing the amount they eat, rather than encouraging them to eat more! However, if yours are not so keen, try chopping different fruit into bite sized chunks and either pop onto wooden skewers (we call them ‘fruit mix sticks’ and sometimes have as a dessert) or just in a pot, these are easier to eat and visually appealing. Alternatively………
- Our most recent idea (and best buy of 2015)- Nutribullet smoothies.
These are great as a snack and actually fill them up for a few hours. Plus, I usually add spinach or kale to them, which are two of the few veg that are harder to get them to eat.
Typical Nutribullet recipe:
Handful of spinach, banana, apple, pear, tablespoon of oats, milk (any). (That makes a large sized smoothie to share between three.)
The addition of oats, nuts and/ or seeds make the smoothie more filling, with slow-release energy, therefore avoiding the energy rush, then dip! For more smoothie ideas take a look at Healthy in a Hurry- Breakfast.
Snacks at Home:
- All of the above!
- Toasted pitta fingers with humous dip.
- Mashed banana on rye toast or crackers (Ryvita). Dark rye bread that you have to cut yourself works best, but any rye bread will do. Use up over-ripe bananas, no butter/ spread needed! You can also substitute the banana for avocado.
- Low fat cream cheese mixed with marmite, on toast. None of mine like cream cheese but mixed with marmite, it’s a winner!
- Chunks of fruit with natural greek yogurt and a sprinkling of seeds
I do try to avoid the ‘snack packs’ provided by various companies, aimed at our children. Many are now ‘organic’ and claim to be ‘sugar free’ or ‘natural sugar’, but they are just so expensive for what they are and are still usually really sweet, even if it is ‘natural’.
When you are in a hurry, can you still keep it healthy? What snacks do you give your children at school pick-up?