After a long day at school, my children usually need an energy boost to hold them over until dinnertime. And honestly, a little pick-me-up that doesn’t play see-saw with my blood sugar levels helps get me through an afternoon slump, too. If you’re tempted to raid the office vending machine around 3 or 4, or you find that the fridge calls out to you a few hours before dinner, try a high-protein snack—protein is more satiating than fat or carbs to tide you over. Try to cap your snack at 200 calories; 100 calories if it’s within an hour of dinner. Here are a few ideas that are sure to satisfy both you and the kids:
Kid-friendly fare: Use a few thin, unsalted pretzel sticks to skewer a few mini cheese rounds for a fun snack. Or take out your holiday cookie cutters for all kinds of fun shapes! Use different types of cheese to vary the color on their plate.
Grown-up grub: String cheese is always a quick and easy snack when you’re on the go. Serve with a few halved cherry tomatoes and whole-grain crackers for a well-balanced snack.
Kid-friendly fare: Assuming there are no peanut allergies, try a PB&J sandwich on mini whole-grain waffles or whole-grain, brown rice cakes instead of bread. For a fun, new presentation for your child, fill celery sticks with peanut butter and top with strategically placed raisins to create Ants on a Log.
Grown-up grub: Use peanut butter as a dip for your favorite cut-up veggies or spread it onto a couple of Gala apple slices for a sweet treat that has a nice protein punch.
Kid-friendly fare: Get creative with omelets, using healthy ingredients your child likes. You can even try whipping up a taco omelet, which is essentially a taco salad (with lean beef) but in an omelet.
Grown-up grub: Prepare hard-boiled eggs when you have the time and keep them refrigerated until you need a quick, filling snack.
Kid-friendly fare: Cereal’s not just for breakfast! Serve their favorite whole-grain cereal (my kids love Kashi) with milk, which is high in calcium and vitamins. You can even add flavorful dried fruit, such as cranberries, blueberries or bananas, to get a nice dose of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Grown-up grub: I put a cup or two of whole-grain cereal in a zip-top baggie and stash it in my purse for a ready-to-eat snack.
Kid-friendly fare: Roll up thin slices for a fun and easy snack. You may even want to add cheese to these roll-ups for a cleaner way to grasp onto them and for extra protein.
Grown-up grub: Put a thin slice of ham on whole-wheat bread with a spoonful of apricot jelly and a dab of Dijon mustard for a nice change from the norm.
Kid-friendly fare: Serve it plain or with fresh fruit, or step it up a notch by mixing it all together and freezing to create frozen yogurt popsicle treats. Just grab one from the freezer at any time for a healthy and easy snack that’ll keep you going.
Grown-up grub: Mix some chives, garlic powder and a dash of finely chopped cilantro into your yogurt to create a tasty dip for some whole-grain pita chips or some carrot and celery sticks.
Whatever your snack choice may be, mix up the variety and let it fuel you for much longer than it takes you to eat it.