The moment my four-year-old son walks in the door from school or the park or really anywhere, he’s definitely asking the ever important question “is it snack time yet?” In our house, we’ve got snacking down to a science by necessity, as both my husband and son like to graze throughout the day. While I’m not a big snack person (weird, I know), it’s always easier to plan ahead to keep things healthy for your body and wallet.
To make things even simpler, we’ve even dedicated a shelf within the fridge and pantry for planned snacks. For example, our fridge snack shelf always includes fresh fruit like clementines, apples, and grapes mixed with easy-to-open items like string cheese (hello, bulk packages of string cheese for the win). I also add in a few make-ahead snacks on the weekends to keep things easy for the busy week ahead. Here are a few of our family’s favorite snacks to prevent the “hangry” from creeping in.
Empty the Pantry Trail Mix
Here’s the easy part, you likely already have all of the ingredients stored away in the pantry for something that the whole family will love. For me, this translates into looking shelf by shelf and combining any and all ingredients used from the prior week in other cooking or baking endeavors (Pinterest anyone?), such as toasted coconut or vanilla almond granola. Here’s a quick recap from my bowl this week:
- 2 cups of lightly salted roasted almonds
- 2 cups of honey roasted peanuts
- 1 cup of shelled pistachios
- 1 cup of banana chips
- 1/2 cup of sweetened dried coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips
Simply mix your preferred amounts into a bowl and store in snack size containers/bags (approx. 1/4 – 1/2 cup) for easy grab and go access during the school week.
Greek Yogurt Parfaits
Ever since my son realized the joy of an afternoon treat at Starbucks (I admit this is my fault, anyone else offer big boy cups of water as a bribe?) he has enjoyed the various yogurt, granola, and fruit parfait cups in the cold case. Since he knows I’m just walking in to grab a quick coffee, he always bats his eyelashes and finds a way to walk out with a treat of his own. These layered yogurt parfaits are easy to make ahead of time and can be updated with fresh seasonal fruit choices. Our family just started to make a habit out of visiting the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and have found endless fruit options that end up in both the snack drawer and yogurt parfaits. Here’s what I found this week:
- 3/4 cup of greek yogurt (we really enjoy the Fage brand plain 2%)
- 1/4 cup of diced peaches
- 1/4 cup of chopped almonds or your favorite DIY/store brought granola
Using a storage container of your choice (we like mason jars for the portability), add the fruit as the bottom layer of the parfait, then dollop the yogurt over the fruit and top with the granola/nuts. If you prefer your granola to be very firm vs. slightly softened, I’d recommend adding the granola right before serving. Ensure that your container is airtight and pop in the fridge for easy after-school snacking.
My family doesn’t often pass up on popcorn. While we love to splurge on freshly made sweet & salty kettle corn from the local markets, we most often snack on just simple air-popped corn with an added touch of sea salt. Since we do eat popcorn so frequently, we use a silicone microwave popcorn popper that is really a total game changer – super easy to clean and consistently popped kernels.
- 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
- Sprinkle of sea salt
Follow your manufacturer’s directions for popping times. Simply sprinkle your desired amount of sea salt over the hot popcorn and divide into small quantities to save for the weekly snack search. For my family, this usually gets divided into ten size snack bags and stored in the pantry.
Let me know if your family adds any of these easy after-school snacks into your weekly routine. I’d love to know what else works for your family during the back to school season!