As much as I like it when my kids are at school so I can get things done, the happiest time of day is when they walk in the door and they are all smiles and running and jumping all over me. But I try not to bask in the glory too long. It's at that point that I know I have about five minutes -- seven if I'm lucky -- to get a good snack on the table before they morph into hungry meltdown monsters.
For my kids, protein is key. So I'm always prepared with these five standbys, both yummy and filling enough to get them through till dinnertime.
1. Peanut butter and banana sandwiched between graham crackers.
Peanut butter is packed with protein, and the graham crackers provide just enough "sweet" to qualify as a treat. Plus, cinnamon and bananas are a divine combination.
2. Yogurt with nuts, granola, drizzled with honey.
The yogurt and nuts give a double-punch of protein, and the cashews and almonds provide good fat to keep my kiddos full.
Or get fancy and make a yogurt parfait (pictured above). Fill a cup with yogurt and mix with fruit and broken graham crackers (a mom's best friend).
3. Prosciutto wrapped mozzarella cheese.
My kids are big into the salt -- uh, oh -- and that includes ham, corned beef, and yes, even prosciutto. Yeah, it's a little pricier than ham but not much -- and it's very thinly sliced so it's more kid-friendly than ham. Sometimes I'll even work a grape or piece of fruit inside the wrap.
4. Mini pizzas.
The best thing I own is a pizza stone, a round piece of fired clay that a keep on the lower rack of my oven. When I know dinner is going to be a little late, I serve this pre-dinner to keep my monsters happy:
Whole wheat pita brushed with olive oil
Light layer of tomato sauce
Sprinkle of cheese
Slice ham or prosciutto
A few pineapple chunks
Bake on the pizza stone (preheated in the oven to 500 degrees) for about 10 minutes.
5. Fruit smoothie.
1 Banana, 5 strawberries, a handful of blueberries, glass of orange juice and glass of ice. Blend in a blender on puree to desired texture. You can add a little yogurt to make it more creamy.
The best part of all these snacks is there are usually some left over that mom can promptly scarf down herself!
What are your kids' favorite wholesome after-school snacks?