Snack time for kids doesn't have to mean a bag of salty chips or a handful of sugar-laden cookies. With a little supervision and a few basic ingredients, your kids can make a tableful of fun, creative and even healthful snacks. Let them use cookie cutters to turn sliced melon into flowers or toast into fun shapes. Or, fill a small tortilla with favorite meats, cheeses or veggies and pop it into the microwave for a quick, filling wrap. Your kids will enjoy getting to concoct these neat treats on their own.
Fun with Fruit
When your child asks for a snack, odds are an apple isn't at the top of his list. However, slice that apple, sprinkle it with a little cinnamon and heat it in the microwave, and he has transformed it into a tasty, healthful snack that tastes like a dessert. Alternatively, give the kids a variety of cut-up fruits and some food-safe wooden skewers to create their own fruit kabobs. They can also use some of the fruit to make a fruit salad -- just mix it with some low-fat vanilla yogurt. If you're in hurry, give them apple slices or banana chunks to smear with some peanut butter.
Veggies and More
If healthy fruit isn't your child's first choice for a snack, vegetables are probably even further down her wish list. Add some peanut butter, ranch dressing, raisins or pretzels and you can turn boring veggies into colorful, fun snacks. The perennial favorite, "ants on a log," is still a hit for kids making their own snacks. Give kids celery and carrot sticks, help them spread peanut butter on top, then let them top their creation with raisins. Or, give them soft cheese cubes and cherry tomatoes to "stab" with some thin pretzel sticks. Kids can plant an indoor veggie garden by spreading flavored cream cheese or some ranch dressing on a small plate, then "plant" broccoli florets and small carrot stick trees.
Mix and Match
Make fun snack mixes using cereal and snacks already in your pantry. Let kids pick out a few favorite cereal loops and crunchy squares and mix these with small pretzel pieces and cheese crackers. Or, mix salty and sweet by giving the kids some nuts, raisins or dried fruit to create their own unique version of trail mix. For a sweet treat, try "puppy chow." Help them mix peanut butter with a little melted chocolate, which they can drizzle over a bowl of dry cereal squares. Put some of the cereal mix into plastic sandwich bags, and then let the kids put a spoonful of powdered sugar into each bag. Seal the bags and let the kids shake them to coat the cereal mix with the sugar.
Make Your Own
If kids need a more substantial snack before soccer practice or a ball game, help them prepare filling treats in the microwave. Give them plain bagels, sliced in half, and some pizza sauce and shredded cheese. Show them how to spread the sauce on a bagel half, and then sprinkle a handful of their favorite cheese on top. Kids can even add pepperoni or veggies. A few minutes in the oven or the microwave, and they've got their own bagel pizzas. Tortillas are also a great base for a filling kid favorite -- quesadillas. Sprinkle shredded cheese on half a tortilla, then fold the other half over the cheese and press gently. Thirty seconds in the microwave is all it takes for a chewy, gooey snack. Add cooked chicken strips or leftover taco meat for a more substantial treat.