So, all the kids (well, most of them) are home (well, most of the time) these days ~ and they're eating us out of house and home! Mealtimes are one thing. I keep a stocked freezer and plenty of rice and noodles and usually manage to come up with something to eat most nights. But, snacks are getting to be a real problem.
We've always had a written-in-stone rule: snacktime around here comes at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, which you think would control the march of food out of my pantry. But, of course it doesn't. The Littles obey the rule, asking me every fifteen minutes after breakfast and lunch, "Is it snacktime yet?" But the Big Kids are stealth snackers. It's not like I don't know it. And while it doesn't make me happy, I do understand it. Especially with the teenage boys. They really are growing. They're hungry. And if they're gonna snack, I want them to snack healthy. At least comparatively so... So, what to keep on hand to feed these eating machines that's healthful, but won't break my bank?
Here are some of our standbys:
* Whole wheat or multigrain saltine crackers (the off-brands are just as good), with peanut butter available. We also love graham crackers with peanut butter and raisins.
* The big outlet grocery stores have humongous, inexpensive cans of peanuts that are especially good paired with raisins ~ which we also buy in gi-normous bags. Paired ahead of time in baggies and stored in the cupboard, this makes for a quick-grab snack that can be "kicked up a notch" with m&ms or chocolate chips on occasion...
* Any fruit that's priced well, but especially bananas! Cheap-rack bananas make for lovely banana bread. But, any homemade baked goody is snapped up around here.
* Alternatively, freeze darkening bananas to use in smoothies.
* Pickles and olives come fairly cheap (particularly the off-brands) and pair up well with crackers or pretzels.
* Speaking of pretzels, large bags come pretty inexpensive and pair up well with raisins, too. Our Littles love to bite off pieces of twisty pretzels to make letter shapes. They also like to tuck raisins into the little holes in the small pretzels and eat them that way.
* Homemade hummus is inexpensive, healthful and good to dip those pretzels or crackers in.
* Plenty of finger-size veges, like cut up or baby carrots, and celery, both of which are still economical to buy. Dipped in Ranch dressing, boughten or home-made. It makes life easier to take the time to chop these up and bag the veges ahead of time.
* Popcorn! Good with cheese and apples, especially.
* English muffins or toast with jam. Bagels are too expensive most of the time for snacks.
* Keep boiled eggs on hand in the fridge. They're an excellent protein pick-me-up. We scribble a "B" in pencil on our boiled eggs to avoid the otherwise inevitable...
* Home-made fruit pops.
* Store-bought granola is too pricey for us, but homemade granola is a popular option, and not too expensive to make, depending on the ingredients you choose. We haven't made any in quite a while, though... I think I feel an afternoon project coming on.
Do you have any good healthy snacktime options we can add to our list? We're always looking for ideas!
Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer has scads more tips from clever and insightful bloggers today. It's always well worth a visit!