School is finally back in session, and we can all go back to some sense of normalcy. That was actually a joke things get really busy during the school year — at least in my house.
Lessons and practices begin and my son’s growing appetite gets bigger and bigger each passing year. I'm afraid that I will eventually need a trough to feed him. When I pick him up from school, I make sure to have a snack in the car because the 10-minute drive from school to home would be too dangerous to undertake with a starving and rapidly growing elementary kid. I make it a point to send plenty of snacks to school with him, but no matter how many I send it is never enough. The doctor has assured me that I am experiencing the growing pains that are typical of boys his age. It's my mission to make at least three meals a week and provide him with two healthy snacks a day. That’s what I call a healthy start.
I decided to share some of my best afternoon snacks that are delicious and healthy. If you send snacks to school for the entire class to share, these ideas travel well and are easy for kids to prepare right in class.
Banana and peanut butter rolls: Using 6-inch flour tortilla wraps, spread a thin layer of peanut butter on one side of the wrap then place a peeled banana on the wrap and roll. Slice in 1-inch sections. You can add your child’s favorite morning cereal on the wrap before you add the peeled banana for extra flavor and crunch.
Fruity pizzas: Using the same wrap, omit the peanut butter and use cream cheese and fresh fruit. Allow your children to create their own fruit pizza by using in-season fruits and veggies.
Air-popped popcorn with Parmesan cheese and other flavors: Air-popped popcorn machines are really economical and pay for themselves in no time. We love creating our own flavored popcorn by using seasonings and shaker cheese. You can also sprinkle hot chocolate mix over the popcorn in a paper bag and create hot chocolate-flavored popcorn. The flavor possibilities are endless and kids love using the air popper. Use sugar-free hot chocolate mix.
Kale chips: Kale is not known for being tasty, but it really is a delicious crispy powerhouse that can easily replace fattening chips. Every time I have served them, they disappear so fast. They are also really easy to customize with flavor and are easy to make.
ZE'S TASTY KALE CHIPS
Note: Fair warning, make a double batch if you don’t want to turn around and make more within the hour.
1 bunch of kale (approximately 4 cups)
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice from half of a lime
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop kale into 2-inch pieces.
In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and pour over kale. Massage oil mixture on kale and toss to coat.
Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with non-stick spray and spread half of the kale evenly on baking pan.
Bake for 12-20 minutes or until kale is crisp. Repeat with remaining kale.
Store in an airtight plastic container once kale is cool.
Ze Carter is a food columnist for the Daily Commercial. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.