Easy Ways to Sneak More Veggies Into Your Family’s Diet

 

boy-eating-veggies

The World Health Organization recommends consuming at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. What’s more, you are supposed to “eat the rainbow”, so you get a broad distribution of vitamins, trace minerals, anti-oxidants, and fiber to help your body curb cravings and function perfectly. As lovely as all that sounds, kids can be tough customers at the table. So, here are some creative ideas for helping your whole family to enjoy more veggies every day.

Sauce them. A good tomato sauce is one veggie (well, technically a fruit) that many kids will gladly eat. It’s also a great place to stash EXTRA veggies because the tomato and seasonings overpower flavor-wise. If you are adding meat to your sauce (or making a chili), you can usually get away with adding other chunky things such as carrots, cubed eggplant (which virtually cooks away), summer squash, or even finely chopped savoy cabbage (steamed separately first). If you are serving a plain marinara, try roasting an assortment of red peppers, carrots, peeled eggplant, butternut squash, cauliflower – anything that won’t alter the red color of your sauce – purée and stir right in!

Egg them. Scrambled eggs are another thing many kids will eat willingly, so it’s not a huge leap over to quiches or egg stratas, starring finely chopped veg. Another option here is little pan-fried cakes in which eggs serve as a binding ingredient for sautéed veggies or steamed greens with cheeses, breadcrumbs, and seasonings.

Soup them. We’re not talking about the high-sodium, canned variety here. With an incredible selection of ready-made, low-sodium stocks and broths available in stores, you can have an almost-homemade soup loaded with fresh, colorful veggies whipped up in just 15-20 minutes. Kale is a great super food to try in soups (leafy parts only, chopped small) as it takes on the soup’s flavor (rather than vice versa) and adds lots of fiber and nutrition.

Drink them. You might never convince your kid to try a green smoothie, but a bright orange carrot-apple juice or magenta beet-carrot-apple combo can be enticing to kids color-wise and just sweet enough to pass the taste test.

Cheese them. Melty, gooey cheese is another perennial kid favorite. Think cheese sauce for broccoli or cauliflower and virtually any combo of steamed, pureed veggies for baked gratins, starring béchamel or other cheesy-creamy sauces.

Transform them. You don’t have go full Paleo to borrow a trick or two from the popular diet’s playbook. Paleo adherents have come up with hundreds of creative recipes, using pulverized cauliflower as a replacement for carbs and rice. They’re also big into ‘spiralizing’ – turning zucchini, peeled broccoli stems, and other firm veggies into mock noodles to serve with yummy sauces or in soups. When the toppings are really tasty, it can be tough to tell the difference between ‘zoodles’ and real noodles.

Other great ways to transform veggies are to bake them – think zucchini and carrot breads – or to bread and fry lightly, serving with dip or other kid-favorite condiments such as ketchup or ranch dressing. Bon appetit!

Homemade healthy cleaners and snacks

By Donna Freedman

Frugal bloggers often write about making certain household essentials themselves, to cut grocery costs. The decision may be about health and/or the environment as well as dollars.

For example, vinegar is a healthful alternative to commercial cleaning sprays, especially if someone in your house is chemically sensitive. Homemade yogurt is much cheaper than the commercial kind — and it sends fewer small containers to garbage dumps. (It’s also delicious. I haven’t bought ice cream since I started making yogurt at home.)

An hour or two a week can save you some decent cash. For example, it’s cost me as little as 50 cents to make a quart and a half of yogurt. (Hint: Watch for close-dated milk.) A loaf of bread that costs 40 to 70 cents to bake can turn leftover soup into a satisfying meal.

Here are a few ideas to get you going.

Edibles: Yogurt, granola, bread
As noted, making yogurt cured my ice-cream habit. It really is that good, mixed with fruit or a little homemade jam. You don’t need a special yogurt maker, incidentally. A site called MakeYourOwnYogurt.com gives step-by-step instructions.

Mix some of that yogurt with a simple, frugal granola recipe from DIYNatural.com. Or try one from Frugal Families; it contains chunky peanut butter, wheat germ and flax meal.

Ever made your own bread? The Frugal Girl discusses process as well as cost in “Is homemade bread cheaper than store-bought?” A loaf of basic white costs half the commercial kind, she says, and doesn’t take nearly as much work as you might think.

Bonus: It makes your home smell marvelous, and a loaf of fresh bread turns leftover beef stew into an occasion.

Pressed for time? Try the “no knead” loaf, which according to the Steamy Kitchen blog is so easy that even a 4-year-old can make it.

More edibles: Cooking fat, soup stock

Home-rendered chicken fat beats vegetable oil for cooking, according to Penny at Penniless Parenting. She gets free chicken scraps and skin from a butcher, then renders them slowly in a pan or simmers them in a pot of water, which produces soup stock as well as cooking fat.

A reader who commented on Penny’s post cooks ground beef in water, which she drains and chills. After the fat is removed she has “Burger broth,” a good base for soup or chili.

I keep two containers in the freezer: one for chicken bones and pan juices and the other for vegetable cooking water and vegetable scraps. When the containers are full they go into the slow cooker to simmer slowly for hours.

Or go the veggie route. Scrappy Vegetable Stock, a recipe found on Poor Girl Eats Well, is just what it sounds like: broth made of potato peelings, green-bean ends, onion skins, etc.

Meaty or meatless, you wind up with free soup makings.

Home front: Laundry soap, all-purpose cleaner, cat litter
Most laundry soap recipes require grating and cooking a bar of Fels-Naptha soap. Here’s the how-to, courtesy of The Hillbilly Housewife.

Not gonna happen? One Good Thing By Jillee has a recipe called “No-grate homemade laundry soap.” It uses borax, washing soda and Dawn dish detergent.

Tired of paying for cat litter and of carrying it home? The Greenists published a homemade cat litter that calls for shredded newspaper, baking soda and biodegradable dish soap. The author reports it takes 30 to 45 minutes to make enough faux litter for two to three weeks, and that “it’s kind of fun, in an elementary school art project way.”

Vinegar makes a good all-purpose cleaner, either straight or cut with water. The smell does go away. Or avoid the odor altogether with a recipe from “5 easy green cleaning tips that use vinegar” on Organic Authority. The “Green Goodness” formula incorporates essential oils to leave your job site smelling sweet.

Readers: What household essentials do you make from scratch? Do you do this for economic or environmental reasons?

14 Ways to Buy More Time in Your Life

Think you can’t afford a regular home cleaning service? Cleaning services may cost less than you think, especially when you consider the value of the free time they buy you. What’s more, a careful evaluation of your monthly expenses may find you are overspending in areas you value far less than your free time. Here are 14 ideas for where to look for savings:
Cut out disposables. Switching, for example, from paper to washable dish towels, paper to cloth napkins, sponges to reusable dishrags, and bottled to filtered water requires small up-front investments, but can end up saving up to $30-40/month.
Shop store brands. A market basket comparison (via www.peapod.com) of 20 common items likely to be purchased each week yields a savings of $18 between well-known and store brands. Pocket that much each week and you could liberate $72/month in your budget for home cleaning services.
Get an energy audit. Depending on where you start (below or near average performance for household energy efficiency) and how aggressive you wish to be in implementing audit recommendations (some of which require investments), you could free up anywhere from $40-130/month*.
Shop cable, internet and phone service. Perhaps you signed up for your current services or bundle when a great deal was offered in your city or town. But, if two or more years have passed, you are likely to be overpaying. Estimated potential savings if you switch: $40-50/month. Tip: free yourself to switch cable/internet service providers at will by moving your email to a free service or to your own domain, which can be maintained for as little as $5/month.
Consolidate insurance with one carrier. If you don’t already do so, you may be able to save $100 or more per month by consolidating your insurance policies – home owners and auto – with a single company.
Take advantage of tax-free health savings accounts (HSAs). Families – especially self insured – can save hundreds of dollars per month on health insurance premiums by saving – tax free – to cover their own expenses and choosing HSA-compatible insurance plans. Unlike flexible savings accounts (FSAs), HSAs are not ‘use it or lose it’. You pay higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, but you cover your own healthcare costs, rather than subsidizing others.
Ditch your land line telephone. Chances are your household has at least two mobile phones and likely more if you children are into double digits age wise. So why pay for a rarely used home service – plus all the add-ons like caller ID, call waiting? To communicate long distance, grab a cheap web cam and take your pick of free internet video chat services: Skype, OoVoo, and others. Potential estimated savings: $20-40/month.
Make your own coffee. Even a $2/day purchased coffee habit ends up costing $730/year or nearly $60-$62/month. A pound of coffee (say, $6) yields 40 cups of coffee (so, 15¢/each). Even assuming another 30¢/cup for cream and sugar, a one-cup/day drinker can save $48/month (assuming you make only what you intend to consume).
Pay attention to food waste. Start a log in which you estimate the total value of food you throw out in the course of a week (include leftovers and any foods that spoil before you manage to consume them). Even $5-10 worth of food waste each week adds up to $20-40 you could be saving each month. Four tips for minimizing food waste: take stock of what you have before shopping, shop more often, buy in smaller packages, and cook smaller portions.
Bring your lunch to work. A ham and cheese sandwich with a side of chips and an 8-oz bottle of water might cost you $5/day in the office cafeteria, which adds up to $100/month. If you shop carefully, you can make the same lunch for $2 (or less) per day, saving $60 per month.
Evaluate TV-watching habits against your cable package. Paying for 350 channels and really watching around 8 or 10? A quick comparison of three cable companies* finds savings of $19-45/month when you choose plans with the fewest channels. If there is a show or two you just can’t live without, there may be an option to view online, stream via Netflix or similar service, or ask a friend or relative to DVR it for you and watch it together.
Cut takeout. For a family of four, even one takeout meal per week can cost $120 – $200/month. Don’t feel like cooking? Try breakfast for dinner: a quick dinner of eggs, bacon, and pancakes can be done for around $10 or $11 (versus $30 – $50 for takeout), saving $80-160/month.
Big on buying books and magazines? Say you buy one book and one magazine per week. That’s anywhere from $44 – $115 per month, depending on whether you go paperback or hard cover. Borrowing from the library is absolutely free (many now lend even for e-readers) and most magazines put full content online for free as well.
Find a commuting partner at work. You may find you enjoy the company, experience less stress by being a passenger half the time, and with gasoline prices lingering close to $4/gal, saving even half a tank of gas each week can free up a $100 or more per month in your budget.
*Note: Price comparisons contained in this article were conducted in the Northeastern, U.S.; actual values may vary by region. Data sources used include service providers’ web sites, www.peapod.com, and www.energystar.com.

Easy as 1, 2, 3: Three Cheap Gift Ideas That Won’t Make You Look Cheap

Since no one has agreed to put a moratorium on gift giving this year, you’re on the hook for some half-decent gifts to family and friends. But how are you supposed to give nice presents that don’t embarrass anyone but keep you on budget? Here are three suggestions.

Magazines are magical

Who doesn’t love magazines? They make wonderful gifts because you’re guaranteed to find one for each person on your list. You can get Garden & Gun for your literary friend from the South; American Bungalow for your pal who loves the Arts & Crafts movement; or American Iron for your Harley-riding uncle. The best part is that it’s a personalized gift and shows you spent some time thinking about what they like and want. Plus it’s the gift that keeps on giving: They’ll get it not once, but up to a dozen times a year. And each time they receive it, they’ll think fondly of you as they relax and read. The average magazine subscription is only about $12 – which feels like a steal for all those stories and pictures.

Night out on the town

With your best friend in mind, get a cheap calendar at a dollar store and mark down one night a month that you and she (or he) will hit the town. For extra credit you can even write down an idea for the evening like “movie night,” “curry night” or “disco night.” Wrap up the calendar with a bow and voila, you now have a $2 gift that your friend will consider priceless. An alternative is to give the gift of free babysitting so she and her hubby can have a date night. Yes, you’ll have more fun with the first idea, but the second one will make your friend love you forever. Total price: $2.

If you want to add some bang to the night-out buck, consider dropping in a gift certificate to a local restaurant like Olive Garden or maybe some movie tickets picked up at Fandango.com.

Space is supreme

For your spouse, consider the gift of space. If you have a spare bedroom, garage or even walk-in closet, give your spouse the gift of his or her own private room. It could be a workout room, exercise room, yoga or artist studio. Just figure out what your spouse would love and then start picking up a few items here and there to make the room look the part. It’s going to be impossible to clean up the space and prep it as a surprise, so instead, opt for a card explaining your gift and how you’ll start work on cleaning and setting up right after the holidays – just be sure you follow through! Total price: $20 plus labor.

A great way to get this gift going is to add in a gift certificate from a cleaning service like MaidPro.com.

This season doesn’t have to drain your wallet. With a few ideas, a couple of smart buys and a smile, you’re sure to make everyone on your list happy.

Secret cleaning tips from a brown bottle

Listed below are 10 things that hydrogen peroxide can be used for in the home.

1. Whiten whites – better than bleach because it won’t leave behind that toxic smell, a cup of hydrogen peroxide added to a load of laundry is just as effective at brightening up your whites. It’s also great for removing blood stains if you catch them right away – just be careful as it can fade colors, too.
2. Clean a cutting board – to sanitize a cutting board, after washing and rinsing, pour peroxide on it to kill off bacteria, including that yucky salmonella.
3. Disinfect counters and table tops – dampen a clean rag with a little peroxide and use to wipe down counter tops and tables.
4. Sanitize the bathroom – fill a spray bottle with diluted peroxide (about a 50/50 mixture) and use for spraying down the sink and toilet areas. It helps eliminate odors as well as germs. Tip: be sure to store any unused mixture in a dark bottle – light breaks down peroxide and makes it ineffective (which is why it’s always sold in a brown bottle).
5. Make mirrors sparkle – peroxide is great for getting mirrors bright and clean with no streaking.
6. Toothbrush care – you use your toothbrush to keep your chompers clean but how clean is that toothbrush? Pour a little of our magical peroxide over it daily to keep it fresh and unpolluted.
7. Safe veggies – add a quarter to a half cup of peroxide to a sink full of water and wash fresh fruits and veggies to eliminate germs and neutralize pesticides.
8. Lush plants – add an ounce of peroxide to a cup of water and spray houseplants daily. It helps prevent fungus growth and makes plants grow greener and fuller.
9. Skunk out – if you or a pet get into a skirmish with a skunk, a little hydrogen peroxide mixed with a bit of hand soap and baking soda can help knock the odor out.
10. Renew yellowed plastic containers – ever get stains on plastic storage containers or cooking utensils that no amount of scrubbing will conquer? Soak the item in peroxide for a day and it should look like new again!

The bonus about using hydrogen peroxide is that it’s also green. Hydrogen peroxide is produced in nature (it’s really just water with an extra oxygen molecule) so it’s not harmful to your family or the environment!

Any other Tips! Please Post.

100 Healthy After-School Snacks Your Kids Will Love

Kids young and old need snacks in between meals to keep their bodies healthy and running strong. Making sure those snacks are healthy and provide kids with the nutrients they need to study and learn isn’t always easy, especially for parents who don’t have loads of time to prepare snacks and have kids who are picky about what they eat. Luckily, there are loads of snacks out there that are not only easy to prepare but also provide health benefits your kids need– all while tasting delicious. Check out this list for some great recipes and ideas that will have your kids snacking healthy and loving it.

basic

Basics

These tried and true classics will provide healthy sustenance for your kids. Better yet, many require little or no preparation.

  1. Chips and salsa. Baked tortilla chips paired with a healthy, fresh salsa is a great lo-cal snack for kids and adults alike.
  2. Yogurt popsThrow out the sugary, unhealthy popsicles your kids are currently eating and replace them with these healthy, yogurty ones instead.
  3. Homemade trail mixSome trail mixes come complete with ingredients that are too salty or sweet to be healthy. By making yours at home, you can control what goes into the mix.
  4. Cereal barsIf you’re on-the-go and need a quick snack for your kids, try a pre-packaged cereal bar. While there are healthier options out there, these will definitely work in a pinch.
  5. Yogurt. Lucky for parents, there are tons of brands of yogurt out there that are packaged and marketed to kids, helping them want to eat this healthy and delicious snack.
  6. Granola barsMake your kids this grain-filled snack at home to give them a boost.
  7. Graham crackers. A few of the whole wheat variety of these crackers can make a sweet and delicious snack for kids.
  8. Cottage cheese. Try out this curdy food with your kids as an after school snack. A few slices of fruit on top can also be a great addition.
  9. Unsweetened applesauceIt might not pack the punch that its heavily sweetened cousin does, but unsweetened applesauce can still be a snack kids enjoy.
  10. Fruit cupsWhen you’re in a hurry, fruit cups can be a lifesaver. Make sure you look for those packed with water or light syrup so you won’t pump your kids full of sugar, however. Enterprising parents can make and prepare their own at home in advance as well.

Fruits

Fruit can be a great way to indulge your child’s sweet tooth in a healthy way. Try out these kid-approved ideas for fruity after school snacks.

  1. Cherries with Brown Sugar DipIf cherries are in season why not whip up this dish? Put a little brown sugar on some yogurt to create a yummy dipping sauce for kids.
  2. Sliced apples. One of the most basic snacks out there is still a great choice for those with kids.
  3. Frozen grapesTurn up the appeal of grapes by popping them in the freezer. They’ll be a cool and delicious treat kids will love.
  4. Orange sections. A peeled or cut orange offers up loads of vitamins and flavor for kids.
  5. Pear pinwheelsPears are a great healthy snack and you can make them even more fun for kids with this snack idea.
  6. Apples and peanut butter. Give your apple a dose of protein by offering kids peanut butter for dipping sauce.
  7. Fruit salad. Parents can make up a fruit salad in advance and dole it out to kids after school for a healthy and delicious snack.
  8. Fruit and yogurt parfait. Alternate fruit and yogurt in a glass and top with granola to create this snack.
  9. Mixed berries. Berries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, so giving your child a mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries can be a great way to get nutrition into his or her diet.
  10. Pomegranate. Pomegranates are fun for kids to eat and also pack a heck of a nutritional punch.
  11. Bananas. Bananas are great because they are extremely portable, easy to eat and healthy to boot. Pair them with peanut butter for an added boost.
  12. Apple puzzleMake your child’s apple into a fun game they’ll love eating with this snack idea.
  13. Fruit juice. While you’ll need to watch out for sugar content, juice with 100% real fruit can be a great snack for kids.
  14. Melon balls. If melons are in season, create fun melon balls for kids to snack on or put them on a skewer for fruit kebabs.
  15. Fruity salsaSalsa doesn’t always have to be savory. Try out this fruity, healthy and yummy salsa with your kids.

veggies

Veggies

Fill your kids up on these healthy, veggie-based snacks instead of junk food.

  1. Carrots with peanut dipping sauce. Spice up plain old carrot stick with this recipe for a tasty dipping sauce.
  2. Cucumber yogurt boatsTurn cucumbers into a fun and playful experience for your kids with this great snack idea.
  3. Veggies and hummusGet kids the veggies they need with a healthy dose of protein by pairing hummus with them.
  4. Edamame. Kids will have fun getting these soy beans out of their shells. Simply steam, salt and serve.
  5. Ants on a logMake eating right fun with this classic, playful snack of raisins, peanut butter and celery.
  6. PicklesIf your kids are longing for something salty, let them have a few of these healthy dills. For pickles on the go, consider Pickle Packs.
  7. Celery and carrot sticks. Paired with a veggie dip, your kids won’t be able to resist eating their veggies.
  8. Veggie chipsGet away from the potato and feed your kids chips made with more nutrient rich foods. Better yet, make your own.
  9. Baked sweet potato friesLow in calories and fat and high on taste and nutrition, your kids will enjoy these fun fries that are simple to make.
  10. Corn on the cobLet your kids feel like it’s summertime anytime with frozen corn on the cob.
  11. OlivesNot all kids love olives but those that do will love sticking the treats on their fingers and eating them off. Just make sure they don’t eat too many, as olives are high in salt.
  12. Pita chips and guacamole. Avocados are packed with healthy fats so let your kids indulge with a few baked pita chips.
  13. Lettuce wrapsWrap up veggies and low fat snacks with lettuce for a healthy after school meal.

Whole Grains

Whole grains will help keep your kids fuller for longer, making the most of snack time.

  1. Whole grain bread and peanut butter. A simple piece of toast with peanut butter can make for a great after school snack.
  2. Whole wheat pretzels.Pretzels can actually be a healthy snack for kids if you go for the whole wheat kind.
  3. Whole grain crackers. Crackers that are made of whole grains paired with cheese or peanut butter can make for a good snack, just make sure to watch out for salt and fat content.
  4. Whole wheat mini-bagels. These tiny bagels will fill your kids up with whole grains and are fun to eat.
  5. Sandwich on whole grain bread. A small sandwich or half sandwich can help stave off hunger until dinnertime.
  6. Soft pretzelsWhen you make these treats at home, use whole wheat flour for a healthier pretzel.
  7. Goldfish crackers. This brand of cute goldfish-shaped crackers now makes them in the whole wheat variety– perfect for healthy kids.
  8. Pita crispsStick some whole-wheat pitas in the oven to make this fun and healthy snack.
  9. Multigrain wafflesCraving breakfast for a snack? A waffle topped with jelly or peanut butter is a healthy option.

small

Small Snacks

These snacks deliver nutrients by the handful.

  1. Sunflower seedsKids will love chewing up and spitting out these seeds.
  2. Unsalted nuts. Skip the salt to make nuts a healthy snack for kids.
  3. Plain popcorn. Popcorn can feel like a special treat, but without loads of butter and salt it’s actually a pretty healthy snack.
  4. Cereal. Healthy, dry cereals like Cheerios can make a good after school meal.
  5. Rice cakesRice cakes come in lots of flavors to meet the nutritional and taste needs of your kids.
  6. Pumpkin seedsIn the fall, roast up pumpkin seeds to get a healthy snack.
  7. GranolaYou can make your own granola and kids will love helping and sampling the results.
  8. RaisinsGive your kids a little box of raisins for a snack.
  9. Fruit leather. Fruit that has been flattened and dried can make for a healthier alternative to fruit roll-ups.
  10. Dried fruit. Bananas, pineapple, mangoes and more are available dried and ready to snack on.
  11. Toasted almondsAlmonds pack a healthy repertoire of nutrients, so you won’t feel guilty about letting your kids snack on them.

Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to ensure kids get their daily intake of fruits and veggies.

  1. Banana Fruit SmoothieBlend up a banana and milk to make this delicious smoothie.
  2. Grape and kiwi smoothieTurn kiwis and grapes into a delicious drink using this recipe.
  3. Healthy milkshakeWant a healthy take on milkshakes? This recipe offers it up.
  4. Strawberry smoothieGet all the healthy benefits of strawberries with this smoothie.
  5. Green smoothieKids not keen on veggies? Hide them in this tasty smoothie.
  6. Tropical smoothieHelp your after school snack feel like a day at the beach with this tropical blend.
  7. Berry smoothieBerries in any form, even in a smoothie, are a great healthy snack for kids.
  8. Peach smoothieIf peaches are in season, blend them up using this recipe.

sweet

Sweet but Healthy

Sometimes, kids just want a sweet treat. Here you’ll find some that will satiate their sweet tooth without being too unhealthy.

  1. Monkey bars. Kids will enjoy these healthy but sweet cookie bars.
  2. Walnut-raisin somersaultsThis blend of fruit and nuts tastes so good kids won’t know it’s healthy.
  3. Juice jelly cubesTurn those healthy juices into jiggling treats with this recipe.
  4. Peanut butter power ballsGive your kids a protein-fueled boost with these graham and peanut butter tidbits.
  5. Chocolate dipped bananasHalf of one of these chocolately bananas is a healthier way to eat something sweet.
  6. Microwave Apple PuddingTurn an apple and cinnamon into something irresistible with this idea.
  7. Cranberry muffinsMaking these cranberry muffins doesn’t mean you have to be culinary expert.
  8. Oatmeal cookies. If your kids want cookies, oatmeal is an alternative that offers up some nutrition.
  9. Sugar-free J-ello. It’s not the healthiest snack in the world, but it isn’t the worst either and it’s simple and easy to take with you. If you make it at home, put some fruit in it as well.
  10. Banana breadFilled with bananas and nuts, kids will get nutrients when they snack on this bread.
  11. Carrot barsSneak carrots into a treat with this recipe.

Healthy but Cheesy

Try out these healthy, cheesy snacks that kids will love. If your child can’t eat cheese, try substituting a soy alternative.

  1. Tortilla pizzasTurn a plain old tortilla into a delicious pizza with this recipe.
  2. English muffin pizza. Use a whole wheat muffin as the basis for a pizza for a healthier treat.
  3. Light string cheese. Kids will enjoy pulling strings of this cheese off and eating them.
  4. Low-fat quesadillaThis recipe shows you how to make a quesadilla that’s actually healthy.
  5. Vegetable pita pizzaPizza doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Load it up with veggies instead of fattier options.
  6. Cheese strawsThis simple recipe lets you make fun, tasty snacks for your kids.
  7. Cheese cubes. If you want to go simple, low-fat cheese cubes are a good snack when eaten in moderation.

Mini Meals

If your child is simply starving, consider one of these pre-dinner, snack-sized meals.

  1. Low fat hot dogs and beans. Get a protein boost with this classic snack.
  2. Baked potatoTop your baked potato with salsa for an easy and low-cal snack.
  3. Soft taco. Filled with veggies or chicken breast, soft tacos can be healthy.
  4. Healthy pita. Kids will enjoy filling their whole wheat pita with all kinds of healthy fixins.
  5. Turkey wrap. Adults and kids alike can enjoy these healthy snacks.
  6. Tuna on crackers. Make a low fat tuna salad and spread it on crackers.
  7. Modified PB and JTry this alternative to the standard peanut butter and jelly.
  8. Low-sodium soup. Many soups are loaded with sodium but there are other options out there that can make great snacks.
  9. Small omelet. Eggs and veggies mixed together make a perfect after school snack.
  10. Whole wheat pastaCook the pasta in advance and warm it up with sauce when your kids are begging for a meal.

Miscellaneous

Still searching for the perfect after school snack? These ideas cover a wide variety of foods.

  1. Egg boatsTake a hard boiled egg and add a cheese sail to create this nautical treat.
  2. Glass of milk. A simple glass of milk can make for a healthy snack.
  3. Ham and cheese crepesEnjoy this French-inspired snack when your kids are feeling peckish.
  4. Lean turkey rolls. Turkey is a great snack, and rolled up with cheese, mustard and a pickle it can be a tasty one too.
  5. Chocolate soy milkChocolate soy milk can help your kids get nutrients but still tastes great.
  6. Homemade lunchables. Kids love lunchables but they aren’t always the healthiest option. Cut out small pieces of cheese and meat at home and pair with whole wheat crackers for a healthier take.