Kids love spending time in the kitchen. Including them in the meal prep process yields more than just a fun, and often messy time. For starters, they learn how to follow directions, measure ingredients and properly use utensils.  When children finish making a healthy snack, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and builds their self-esteem.  And, if it’s a new recipe or snack that has never been tasted, there is a much greater chance that they’ll try it than if it was made by someone else.

Preparing snacks (A.K.A. mini meals) also gives parents the opportunity to talk about nutrition and help children understand and learn why eating healthy food is the smart choice.

Next time your child comes home from school, have the ingredients ready to try one of these 5 fun snacks.

1.) Party in a Pod

Grocery List: celery, nut butter or hummus, small dried fruit such as cranberries or raisins, pieces of nuts,   small pieces of real fruit (such as pears, apples or banana)

Spread the nut butter or hummus onto the celery and have kids decorate

2.) Fruit & Nut Butter Shaped Sandwiches

Grocery List: Whole wheat bread, cookie cutters (any shape desired), nut butter, honey or jelly.  Kids can also decorate the top of the sandwiches using nut butter as the “glue” and pieces of fruit for decoration.

3.)Greek Yogurt with mini banana

Grocery List: Greek yogurt, plain or flavored, bananas and nut butter

Spread nut butter between two banana slices and serve with a slice of Greek yogurt

4.) Funny Face Rice Cakes

Grocery List: Round rice cakes (regular size of mini size), nut butter, a variety of dried and fresh fruits, nuts

5.) Vegetable Muffin Monsters

Grocery List: Whole wheat English muffin, pizza sauce, shredded cheese (try to have at least 2 types), a variety of vegetables to decorate.

Spread sauce onto the English muffin halves and sprinkle with cheese.  Have the kids cover with the vegetables of their choice or get creative and make funny or scary monster faces.  Bake in the oven or toaster oven until golden brown.

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