We're so happy that Kate is back at the Herefordshire Hub after taking time off to have her baby, and that her juggling includes working with us! It also includes settling a child into reception and she's been considering snacks... Say hi to Kate in our Mighty Network - there are loads more ideas in there too. What snacks work for you?
With the kids back at school, you may be finding yourself once again trying to find some quick and easy snacks you can give them to fill those hungry tummies after pick-up and help get you all through to dinner time before the 'hanger' sets in! I don't know about you, but I always struggle to come up with something nutritious yet quick enough to satisfy the IMMEDIATE demands of a tired, overstimulated and hungry child.
Wind down time in the post-school or nursery, pre-dinner period seems to be just as important as the food for my kids these days, and we have found that getting together in the kitchen to prepare food together can be a perfect way to wind down and reconnect after our hectic days. Getting them to help with making dinner has always been part of our day when possible, but I have found that after a busy day, they are sometimes too tired to want to help at that time of day. Getting them to help prepare snacks instead seems to work well! It focuses their attention on something other than the fact that they are tired and hungry, it gets them a tasty snack AND it usually leads to some relaxed chat about everyone's day - win win!
I've added a recipe suggestion below, but to be honest, you can get them involved with just about whatever you are making! Get them to chop their own fruit or veg (with a child safe knife, our essentials kit ones are perfect, but a normal table knife works too) or they can mash up some chick peas or tinned beans to make a yummy hummus or bean dip. Mixing and measuring can be fun for even the littlest of helpers and older ones can be responsible for grating or peeling vegetables. Food preparation can be a great way to work out the worries of the day too - bashing up those beans can help them get rid of frustrations and every child I know loves the sensory experience of squishing some dough between their fingers to make flatbreads or some super quick pesto twists or mini tarts.
If you are juggling work as well as kids, or after school activities, then obviously preparing snacks together each day may not work for you. How about taking some time together at the weekend instead? Get the kids involved with planning what they may want, then make it together to freeze or store in the fridge or airtight containers until needed - so it's ready as an even quicker option for those days when you need something you can literally just grab or pack for them in their bags. Again, you will probably find that taking the pressure off and enjoying chopping, grating, mixing, measuring and mashing together can be a great way to reconnect and get kids chatting about their week with you.
This is one of our favourites as a quick and easy snack option that can be made in a big batch and kept for several days in the fridge:
Smashed Bean Dip
1 tin beans (cannelini / butter beans or similar)
1 clove garlic
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
4 tablespoons olive oil
Drain and rinse the beans and put in a large bowl, get the kids to smash and mash to their heart's content! Use a masher, a fork or even just squidge them with hands - a great sensory activity for little ones! Crush the garlic, with a garlic press or a fork and add to the bowl. Grate the zest of the lemon and then squeeze the juice out. Add the spices, zest, lemon juice and oil to the bowl, getting the kids to help with measuring and counting, then mix well and hey presto! A quick, tasty and nutritious snack!
Mostly, I'll just serve it with breadsticks or pittas, but if we are feeling especially adventurous, we can make some flatbreads too, with just flour, water, a little oil, and some herbs if you are feeling fancy. Find out how, plus loads more recipe ideas and tips to get your kids involved in the kitchen, on our Mighty Network or join our mailing list to find out what else we have going on.