If your kids are anything like ours, being at home turns them into snack demons. No matter how much they eat they are constantly asking for snacks! It’s costing us a fortune and we’re running low on ideas to make sure they’re not eating junk all day.
Some of us are finding it hard to get hold of fresh fruit and veg when supermarket delivery slots are as rare as hen’s teeth and you’re only supposed to shop once a week. Plus, the constant requests for food can get a bit annoying when it’s ALL. THE. TIME.
So, what can you do?
Depending on the age of your kids you might be able to make them a lunchbox that they can help themselves to throughout the day, and when it’s gone it’s gone. Or even a weekly snack box that they have to ration throughout the week. This might not work for younger children who don’t understand about making things last, or can’t open the fridge safely by themselves. For younger kids we’ve found it really helpful to have a selection of bits that are ready to grab for them when they ask, so you don’t have to spend all day making food. You can also make a really good picnic style lunch or tea with a selection of these things, freeing up a few minutes to yourself while they eat.
Our kids particularly love:
- Cold pasta salad. Keep a big tub of it in the fridge ready to serve when they’re hungry. You can use up any leftover veggies or pulses, and a simple dressing of oil and lemon, some herbs, or a tomato based sauce.
- Rice salad. Make sure you follow the guidelines on how to safely cook, cool and store rice. But once it’s cooled you can again add any leftover bits from the back of the fridge and a dressing. This can me made into a full meal by putting some rice and beans inside a wrap. I love eating this with the kids too, with a big squirt of sriracha on mine!
- Sandwiches. If you keep a selection of fillings prepped in tubs, it takes 2 mins to make them into a sandwich. My kids are really into banana and peanut butter at the moment.
- Things on toast. Jam, beans, spaghetti hoops, marmalade, Nutella (all rules have gone out of the window for us during lockdown, Nutella is no longer a pancake day only treat! But you could also try a home-made Nutella recipe to keep the sugar levels lower)
- Dips and bits. Homemade houmous is so easy, and you can add all sorts of flavours to mix it up a bit. Have it with home-made chips, breadsticks, crudites, pastry twists (we have a super easy pastry recipe you could try) crackers. Or for a healthy take on a chocolate dipper you could use a home-made Nutella recipe with fruit sticks or plain biscuits.
- Pastry bits. My kids love carbs in any form, so getting them to knock up a batch of our super easy pastry gives us all sorts of options. Choose from tarts, ‘pizzas’, twists, pinwheels, add some herbs or seeds and let them loose with their favourite cutters.
- Ditto with a basic bread mix. Pizzas, rolls, baguettes, breadsticks. You can get the kids to make the dough themselves and mould it into whatever shape they like.
- Scones – sweet or savoury. We aren’t usually big advocates of giving the kids loads of sweet stuff, but there’s something about an afternoon tea with scones that feels like a huge treat. Plus, it doesn’t feel quite as bad as cakes covered in thick icing and a million e-numbers…
- Ice creams and ice lollies made from leftover fruit juice/smoothies/blended frozen ripe bananas. The kids are going to want treats – you may as well get some extra nutrients into them!
- Pancakes – sweet or savoury. Crepe-style filled with fruit, or more of a fritter style pancake where you can use up all your leftover veg, or some sweetcorn, with a pinch of herbs and maybe some paprika. They keep well in the fridge and can be eaten cold too.
What would you add to the list? We’re always keen to hear what works for you, and it will probably help out some other parents and carers too. Let us know your go-to snack-monster-soothers on the Kids Kitchen Network or on our Facebook page.
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Words by Sarah Groszewski