Phoebe starts pre-school this Thursday. It’s only a couple mornings a week, but it already feels so surreal watching her try on her new backpack and adjust her pigtails as she gets ready to join the ranks of the “big kids.” How did 2-years-old come so quickly? Along with preschool comes another new milestone: school snacks! Such a phenomenon feels so far away, but turns out that not only will I be packing her lunch for school, sometimes I’ll be bringing snacks for the class (and I know that many of you are gearing up for the return of “after school snacks” for your grade schoolers!) Since snacks for kids have a few requirements (super quick to prepare, hopefully healthy, and sometimes most challenging: something our kids will actually eat), I can see how it would be easy to get into a back-to-school snack rut. So when Phoebe and I spent the afternoon cooking at Patricia’s Table a couple weeks ago, we asked Patricia to show us her favorite school snack. Keep reading for the “recipe,” plus a few more perfect snacks I’m filing away from around the web… The beauty of these fruit skewers is that they can (and should) be changed up based on what’s in season and what’s in your fridge. For these, we started with 1 cup blueberries, 1 sliced peach, 1 honeydew melon with the rind cut off and sliced into wedges, 1 watermelon sliced into rings 1/2-inch thick, and 12 wooden skewers. Since melons can be a bit time-consuming to peel, seed, and slice, I like to accomplish this task on the weekend right when I get home from the grocery store, so that the fruit pieces are basically ready to go when I need them during the week.First, place the watermelon down on a cutting board, flat side down. Using a small (1 – 2″) cookie cutter, cut the watermelon into whatever shapes your heart desires. (note to self: invest in some really fun cookie cutters that can elevate sandwiches, pancakes, and who-knows-what-else into the most fun after-school snack ever.) Place honeydew melon and peaches on the cutting board, and let your child slice them into small chunks using a spatula knife or a butter knife. (I’ve got my eye on this adorable set for when Phoebe’s just a little older.) This is a great time to show kids how to hold the cutting utensil and talk to them about safety. Place melon and peach slices in a pile.Gently slide fruit pieces on a skewer in any order. It’s cute to thread the watermelon piece onto the top, but really, anything works. I was a tad bit worried about Phoebe stabbing herself with the skewer, but she did fine, and it was good practice for her motor skills. Just watch small kids closely, and be right there to help guide their little hands as needed.Ta da! So adorable, and so fun to eat. These can be made in advance and stored in the fridge if needed, and I’m going to try popping them in the freezer for an after-school “popsicle.” It’s amazing that getting a little creative with the presentation can turn something so “normal” into something that kids are really excited to eat.
Big thanks to the team at Patricia’s Table for having us in to cook with them! I’ve been doing a little web research to find other creative and healthy lunch and snack ideas to keep on hand for when I’m feeling uninspired. Here are a few I can’t wait to make:
- Open-Faced Apple and Tahini Sandwich
- Pineapple Fruit Leather and Mango Fruit Roll-Ups
- Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
- Banana Oatmeal Snack Cookies
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Crispy Apple-wiches
- Dried Apple Slices
- Chia Seed Energy Bites
I’d love to hear your favorite lunchbox and snack ideas! Leave a comment, share favorite links, and let me know any go-to recipes that your kids love… I’ve got many years of “after-school snacking” ahead of me!
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