As a parent, there are all sorts of things you have to learn “on the job”, all sorts of things no one tells you in advance (and you probably wouldn’t believe anyway). I have been shocked by the look of crayons melted in the washer and dryer, horrified by the number of peas that really do fit inside a baby’s nose, and I am well educated on the importance of snacks.
From church to soccer games, and most definitely after school, snacks are everything. They are, at different times, distractions, motivation, and strategic holdovers until the next meal. As a mom of four kids, I keep an arsenal of snacks handy for any occasion. In fact, here are some of my kiddos’ favorite snacks and the perfect time to eat them:
At-the-ready My kids always know to look in the fridge for quick and easy items they can use to help build their own healthy, hummus snack. This recipe calls for minimal prep on my end to set them up for assembly success. Using a tube of canned crescent-roll dough and a mini-muffin tin, I bake the cups to a golden brown, let them cool completely, and freeze. When the kids are looking for them, I pull them out to thaw quickly on the counter while they reach for the hummus and pre-chopped crudité. Filling the cups is not only delicious and fun, it’s an excellent exercise of a kid’s creative muscle.
Back-to-reality You know the weekends that are jam-packed with birthday parties, babysitters, pizza, chips, and nap-less afternoons? The ones that leave you wiped out worse than you were on the Friday before? It’s on the Mondays that follow those weekends when I really need something like these fast, fresh and portable hummus rolls-ups! Super fresh and stuffed with protein, and just filling enough to hold over ‘til dinnertime, roll-ups are the perfect kids snack to reset and refresh. Plus, they are beautifully pop-able, in a way that makes kids feel like the party continues.
Fan Favorite Every parent’s got a go-to recipe that is guaranteed to keep everyone happy. These light appetizers of hummus bruschetta with tomatoes is so easy and delicious that it saves me from having to negotiate my way through snack time. (“No, we’re not having chocolate right now. You neeeeed some veggies today.”) I line up thinly sliced baguette toasts, a bowl of homemade hummus, another of fresh basil-kissed tomatoes, and put the kids to work spooning, topping, gobbling up their snacks.
Heavy Snack/Dinner Like heavy happy-hour apps that become a grown-up’s dinner, this flatbread recipe can very easily translate into supper for my kids. I call these Pita “pizzas” and with a generous smear of hummus and a smattering of artichokes, olives, tomatoes, and crumbled feta they become the ideal answer when snack time starts to toe the line of dinnertime. Sometimes I let the kids assemble them themselves, but I always make extras to flesh out the meal; often, a flatbread spread will save me from having to fire up the stovetop for a full-fledged dinner.
Every darn day, with intense on-the-job training, I am learning something new about being a parent. For the time being, though, I can say with confidence that I’ve nailed the kid snack piece. Low-crunch snacks for reading group, barely-sticky snacks for picnics, hearty snacks for late afternoon – with real-world experience and a box full of brilliant (hummus) recipes, I’ve got kid-friendly snack time down to a science. Now, about the peas up the nose…