Kids in the kitchen: School vacation snacking

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"I'm hungry!" "There's nothing to eat!"

After school, weekends, school vacations, snow days, if the kids are home, they're looking for something to eat.

What seem to be insatiable appetites are not without reason for the most part. A growing, active, healthy child burning up a lot of energy needs to refuel. But, that means that mom and dad are constantly in the kitchen making snacks. So, let the kids make their own snacks. There are lots of options for healthy, yummy snacks kids will love that they can make themselves.

A great example of an easy, healthy snack kids can make is this recipe for banana ice cream. Simply peel and freeze bananas, blend in a food processor until smooth and scoop it up. That's it. Younger children will need supervision with operating a food processor.

Keep yogurt on hand, along with fresh fruit, granola, crushed graham crackers or cereal, and the kids will have the makings for yogurt parfaits. Try this recipe for cinnamon apple yogurt parfait.

CINNAMON APPLE YOGURT PARFAIT

INGREDIENTS:

For each serving:

1 tablespoon granola

1/3 cup vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup applesauce

Dash of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

In a small glass or dessert dish, layer ingredients in order given and serve. Repeat another layer of granola, yogurt, applesauce and cinnamon for larger servings.



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What kid doesn't love pizza? Pizza toast is a quick fix for a pizza snack attack.



SUPER QUICK PIZZA TOAST

INGREDIENTS:


For each serving:

1 slice bread

Spaghetti sauce

Shredded mozzarella, american or cheddar cheese

Optional toppings: pepperoni, crumbled bacon, diced peppers, etc

DIRECTIONS:

Place bread slices on a baking sheet, spread with spaghetti sauce, sprinkle on cheese then top with any additional toppings. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.

GRILLED PIZZA OPTION:

This recipe is best for kids who are old enough to use the stove. It's a great alternative to the basic grilled cheese sandwich.

Assemble as directed for pizza toast, but top with a second piece of bread and grill in a bit of butter as you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

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Soft tacos are the basis for this recipe easy enough for even little ones to make.

BANANA AND nUTELLA ROLL-UPS

INGREDIENTS:

For each serving:

1 soft taco2 tablespoons Nutella

1 small banana, peeled

DIRECTIONS:

Spread taco with Nutella. Lay banana across the bottom edge of taco and roll up. Slice into 1-inch pieces and serve.

Variation: Substitute peanut butter for Nutella or use a tablespoon of each, Nutella and peanut butter. Fruit spreads are tasty variations as well.

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Kids never get tired of popcorn, but they can kick up the flavor by mixing there own popcorn seasonings. Lightly butter the popcorn or use a bit of olive oil spray first to help the seasonings stick to the popcorn. Microwave popcorn works best with kids, but choose one that isn't flavored. Lightly salted is OK.

For each recipe, mix ingredients. Shake on fresh, hot popcorn and toss to coat. Store leftover seasonings in a moisture-proof container to keep it dry.

CINNAMON SPICE POPCORN SHAKE-ON

INGREDIENTS:

Mix together:

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

PARMESAN GARLIC POPCORN SHAKE-ON

INGREDIENTS:

Mix together:

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Italian herbs

SWEET AND SALTY PEANUT BUTTER SHAKE-ON

INGREDIENTS:

4 tablespoons peanut butter powder (available in most markets)

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon salt

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These fruity, frozen yogurt bites are healthier and tastier than any sugar- and fat-laden supermarket frozen treats. This is another recipe that is perfect for little ones to make. Thanks to Delish.com for the recipe.

FRO-YO FRUIT BITES

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

1/4 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup strawberries, quartered

DIRECTIONS:

Combine yogurt, milk and honey and whisk until smooth.

In an ice cube tray, distribute fruit in each cube.

Spoon yogurt mixture evenly over fruit, filling molds completely. Freeze until solid. Remove from ice cube trays and serve.

Keep on encouraging your kids to cook. Teach them that homemade snacks can be healthy and really delicious. Let them get creative and come up with their own recipes. They're more likely to eat what they make themselves.

So, while the kids are out of school this week and they start complaining that they're hungry — and that there's nothing to eat — send them into the kitchen and tell them to make their own snacks.

P. S. Don't forget to teach them to clean up after themselves!


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