Afternoon Snacking

Ever since I read Bringing Up Bebe and French Kids Eat Everything, I’ve been more serious about having a good snack for Ella in the afternoon (and for me, if we’re being honest).

I want something that is substantial enough to keep her going for a couple more hours, but not so dense she won’t be hungry by dinner (we don’t eat dinner at nine p.m. like some French families). And I want it to be reasonably healthy, not a bunch of sugary carbs, although I guarantee you that Ella wouldn’t complain a bit if it were a cookie every day.

Here are a couple of staples in our home:
  • Apple slices with peanut butter – I love a good apple and I really love peanut butter. Plus, what kid doesn’t like to dip things?
  • Green smoothies – Our CSA grows kale like there is a kale shortage coming up, so I am always struggling to use up enormous bunches of it. I put in about two leaves of it, some apple juice, a frozen banana, and some combination of frozen and fresh strawberries, peaches, pineapple, and mango. I try not to make enormous amounts of this since smoothies are generally so caloric and also I don’t like to drink three cups of smoothie. We both usually have one child-size glass.
  • Popcorn – It is amazingly cheap to buy plain popcorn kernels (a 1 lb bag runs me 80 cents) and I throw about two tablespoons in a brown lunch sack, fold it over, and microwave it for 2 minutes. Ella loves listening to it pop and is just as happy to eat it plain as when I put a little butter and salt on it.
  • Triscuits with cheddar cheese – I like to add a little smear of dijon mustard to mine, but Ella does not approve of this addition to hers.
  • Banana Ice Cream – Have you done that thing where you put frozen bananas in your food processor for a minute or two with a spoonful of peanut butter (and maybe a spoonful of cocoa powder too) and it totally tastes like ice cream afterward? I love this stuff.
  • Cinnamon Almond biscuits – We make big batches of these little cookie/crackers and they are filling without giving you a sugar crash. Plus they just taste so amazing.
  • Nachos – because sometimes you just want something salty. I just grate some cheddar cheese over a plate of tortilla chips, microwave it for about 15 seconds, and then dip them in salsa (okay, okay, I mix my salsa with sour cream because apparently I am a glutton for calories).
  • Plain yogurt with granola and dried cranberries – yogurt is almost certainly Ella’s very favorite food and with some granola (I like this recipe a whole lot) and some dried fruit, it’s a great little snack for both of us.
  • Banana Coconut CookiesNo sugar added, gluten-free cookies. I promise, they are still amazing. It’s a toss-up which of us likes them more.

Any other suggestions for relatively healthy, easy snacks?


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  1. This is a great list! I use a lot of these myself. Popcorn in one of my favorites – I eat it all the time. I also like to snack on just fresh fruit. Lately that involves peaches and blueberries. I can't wait for apricots to be in season. Snack on!

  2. Thanks for this great suggestions. We snack also and I have a hard time creating said snack without getting some myself! Using regular popcorn kernels in the microwave is brand new to me. I'm going to try it as we LOVE popcorn here and I generally make it on the stove, which is messy.

  3. I do a lot of the same snacks you have listed, but another favorite is to mix our homemade granola with peanut butter and sprinkle it over fat free pudding (which we just buy, but you could easily make).

    We also love whole wheat crackers spread with laughing cow cheese and bell peppers.

  4. Those multigrain Food Should Taste Good cracker/chips from Costco with the Tzaziki Yogurt Dip… also from Costco.

    And yogurt creamies… do they count as healthy?

  5. Ahh! I love these ideas! I am going to be making those banana coconut cookies very soon. I have everything to make them and they sound delicious! I'm also a fan of the green smoothies too. When the motor went out in my old blender, I bought one that comes with smaller cups (sort of like the Magic Bullet, I guess?). Anyway, I love it for making personal-sized smoothies.

    Last but not least, I also made the "Tex-Mex and Beans" stew over the weekend? Yum!! I had some corn on the cob that I served with it and I ended up shucking some of that corn and throwing it in my stew too. Delicious. I love your ideas! Keep 'em coming.

  6. These are some good ideas! I still need to try your famous healthy cookies. I had a major fail making a healthy cookie recipe from the Dr Oz website recently.

  7. A few favorites around here (and we will definitely be stealing some of yours) are: string cheese and crackers with some kind of fruit, granola, homemade juice or smoothie popsicles (my current favorite is equal parts orange juice and vanilla yogurt), or mini muffins. Happy snacking!

  8. I love all these suggestions. So often it is way too easy to pull out the pretzels (hello carbs devoid of all nutrition), but I'm to lazy to think up things that my kids will actually eat.

  9. We like to freeze our left over smoothie in small cups or tupperware (make it sturdy so it doesn't break when you take the lid off). Then we just microwave for a few seconds so we can get a spoon in it and eat like ice cream. Yummy and lets me make a whole bunch an once that lasts for days!

  10. I haven't read Bring up Bebe, but we never snacked when we were growing up. We had an after-school or after-swimming snack, but we didn't munch throughout the day. I didn't let my son do this, either. (My daughter did because she was ill so much of the time.)

    Although some of these aren't necessarily substantial, they are fun healthy treats: "Popsicles" made from real juice, "Fudgesicles" made from chocolate milk (molds are available or use ice trays), Jello made with fruit juice and with fruit added (don't use fresh pineapple!), dried fruits, frozen bananas dipped in chocolate (or not), frozen yogurt (vanilla yogurt blended with frozen fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, melons, etc. and enough honey to sweeten, and homemade pudding and custards.

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