1. Totally Awesome Trail Mix
What you need: Equal parts mixed nuts, dried cherries, and sunflower seeds. You could even throw in air-popped popcorn!
How to make it: Stir ingredients together—and throw in a handful of dark-chocolate chips, too. (Substitute vanilla chips if your child is allergic to chocolate.)
Tip: Toss a handful of the mix on a plate or napkin, or stuff it into a plastic baggie. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, and use within a week.
2. Crunchy Chickpeas
What you need: 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas rinsed and drained; 2 tablespoons olive oil; salt to taste; and a pinch of paprika
How to make it: Combine ingredients and roast on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 400°F, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until crunchy. Cool and serve.
Tip: Store at room temperature and eat within two days.
3. Apple & Banana Smoothie
What you need: 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, ½ cup chilled applesauce, 1 ripe banana, and a few ice cubes
How to make it: In a blender, whirl ingredients together. Pour into a glass and serve immediately.
Tip: This treat is loaded with calcium and potassium and is super-refreshing.
4. Crustless Tea Sammies
What you need: Whole-wheat bread, thinly sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, and cream cheese
How to make it: Layer the cukes, carrots, and cream cheese between the two slices of bread.
Tip: Cut into four equal bite-size pieces and let your kids enjoy!
5. Mini-Pizza Bagels
What you need: 1 small plain bagel, tomato sauce, and grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
How to make it: Slice and toast the bagel. Slather tomato sauce on both halves. Top with grated cheese. Your kiddos can add their own favorite pizza toppings, such as green peppers, mushrooms, or pepperoni. Bake at 350°F for 5 to 8 minutes.
Tip: Microwave for 1 or 2 minutes for instant gratification. Kids who are comfortable using a sharp knife, say by around age 10, can make this completely on their own without turning on the oven!
6. Three-Ingredient Nachos
What you need: Tortilla chips, salsa, and pre-grated Cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
How to make it: Sprinkle cheese over chips. Microwave until cheese melts. Serve with a side of salsa or guacamole.
Tip: This snack, packed with protein from the cheese and vitamins from the salsa, is so easy that older kids (9 and up) can make it on their own.
7. High-Energy Roll-Ups
What you need: Deli turkey, roast beef, or boiled ham; and sliced low-fat Muenster, Swiss, or mozzarella cheese, plus whichever sandwich toppings your kids prefer, like lettuce, tomato, or even seedless grapes!
How to make it: Roll up any combo of the above, and serve with grapes as the side dish.
Tip: Make ahead of time (even the same morning), wrap well, and chill until your hungry, hungry caterpillars get home.
8. Spiced Tortilla Chips
What you need: 6 flour tortillas, 3 tablespoons melted butter, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, poppy and sesame seeds (1 tablespoon of each), a pinch of black pepper, and a pinch of paprika, for color
How to make it: Brush tortillas with melted butter. Sprinkle with a mixture of Parmesan cheese, poppy and sesame seeds, and pepper. Press the mixture to help it stick to the tortillas. Cut into 4 wedges. Bake at 400°F for 6 to 8 minutes.
Tip: If your child is gluten-free, make these with corn tortillas instead.
9. Perfect Fruity Parfait
What you need: Your kid’s favorite flavor of yogurt and fresh fruit of your choice (consider colorful diced kiwi, an unpeeled red apple, halved seedless red grapes, or mixed berries)
How to make it: Alternate layers of yogurt and fruit.
Tip: Serve in parfait dishes or soup or cereal bowls.
10. Frozen Banana Bites
What you need: A ripe peeled banana, peanut butter, and chopped peanuts or granola
How to make it: Coat a peeled banana with a layer of peanut butter, and roll the combo in chopped peanuts or granola. Place in freezer for about one hour or until cold, slice, and serve!
Tip: Offer up one of these instead of ice cream.