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Wisconsin Parent

Back To School Snacks

Sep 04, 2013 10:46AM ● By Abbie Chaffee

It's that time of year again! The pencils are sharpened. The sneakers are still squeaky clean. The energy levels are still high. It's back to school time! Most parents in Wisconsin bid farewell to their children (and summer) yesterday and waved goodbye to happy smiling faces (hopefully) on big yellow buses all over the state. Even though it's only the first week back, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and "stuck" when it comes to healthy school lunch ideas AND after school snacks. Let's take some of that pressure of your weary minds and chat about back to school snacks, shall we?

After spending eight solid hours at school, our tiny scholars need great snack options to help refuel their brains before hitting the inevitable stack of homework. It's also hard for them to come up with these ideas on their own. When left to their own devices, most kids would rather dive face first into a box of cheez-its or scream out that age-old mantra: "Mom! We have NOTHING to eat!"Let's avoid both of those scenarios by creating simple snack baskets for them to choose their "refueling grub."

What's a snack basket? Just a simple basket that is kept in the fridge or pantry (or both) with parent-approved snack options.

Here are some ideas for your pantry snack basket:

  • Raisins or other dried fruit
  • Granola Bars
  • Nuts or Seeds
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels (we love honey-whole wheat ones)
  • Peanut Butter (sunflower butter is also a favorite in our house)
  • Fruit Leathers
Tip: Take some time to dole out snacks into individual servings; either in snack bags or small jam jars (which I love because you can just pop them in the dishwasher and reuse them). Plus, jam jars are only about $9 for a case at most hardware or grocery stores. Look in the canning aisle.

Here are some ideas for your fridge snack basket:

  • Yogurt Tubes (look for greek yogurt tubes, and steer clear of anything with artificial dyes in them)
  • String Cheese or cut up cheese
  • Hummus
  • Cut up veggies (carrots, celery, and bell peppers)
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Apple Sauce (I love the squeeze packs)
Tip: Again, don't forget to take the time to package out individual servings of each (if they don't already come individually packaged). It's all about smart snack choices and not filling up too much before dinner time.

By creating snack baskets, you are handing over some responsibility and independence to your child (or children). They know where the baskets are, what the choices are, and can chose for themselves what they want to eat; and therefore are more likely to eat something healthy. You can even move the baskets to their preferred homework spot before they get off the bus (like the kitchen table); to help keep their homework momentum up. Either way, the choice of what to snack on is still in their hands (even if you made the choices of what to put in their baskets).

Here are some fun recipes to offer kids as snacks as well:

  • Mokki Balls: energy balls made from nut butter, flax, oats, and chocolate chips.
  • Chocolate Avocado Fruit Dip: A tasty chocolate mousse made from avocados, almond milk, and melted chocolate. The perfect dipping companion for apples or strawberries.
  • Monster Bites: energy chews made from nut butter, dried fruits, seeds, oats, protein powder, and honey.

Here's to this school year being a great one for our children and ourselves!