What's going on all day in school that has my kids arriving home ready to chew nails they are so hungry? Does thinking and learning really drive the metabolism of the elementary and secondary school set into overdrive? Gluten-free or gluten ingesting, my kids are super hungry at 3pm.
All I know is that my kids walk in the door and right into the kitchen. Pantry doors are flung open, the refrigerator and freezer get looked over. Without careful planning, kids go right for the stuff that I probably shouldn’t be buying in the first place.
This year I am planning ahead! Trail mix, peanuts in the shell, spicy pecans and candied walnuts are all in my pantry shelves right now. There is a bit of sugar because the trail mix has chocolate and the candied walnuts are, well “candied.” However, this is a high energy, filling option that is just plain better than potato chips.
I kept this summer circular from Stop & Shop grocery stores because they had some fun “stuffed packet” recipes, there was one with a split banana with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and mini marshmallows all wrapped in a parchment and foil packet to throw on the grill. One could probably put the packet in the oven with a banana, peanut butter and a little honey and have a gooey, warm after school snack! I could probably do a fun packet with apples, cinnamon and brown sugar too.
Bagel pizzas are a great post football or soccer practice treat. I keep gluten-free bagels in the house at all times and toppings such as marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese are easy to have on hand.
These days, there is a nice variety of gluten-free crackers so cheese and crackers or peanut butter with crackers is always available.
Pre-made guacamole and salsa are some of the best things to have in the refrigerator because that is a great serving of vegetables with some corn tortilla chips. Kids could easily make nachos for an after school fiesta.
Popcorn kernels, the good old fashioned kind that you pop with a little oil in a pan, is now a pantry staple in my household. Everyone knows how to make a really good bowl of popcorn. There are no chemicals and no microwave fires this way!
Frozen gluten-free waffles and cream cheese with jelly are delicious. We always visit a farm on the North Fork of Long Island and pick up multiple bottles of fruit syrups such as strawberry, blueberry, beach plum and raspberry for our waffles. They are really amazing.
Hummus and dips with chopped up vegetables are a great option too, they just have to be handy and prepared and right in the front of the refrigerator! Apple slices and nutella or peanut butter is a better option than cookies. I also find that if there is a container of cut up fruit salad right at eye level in the fridge, it will get devoured.
I want my kids to feel refueled for homework and sports practices, but I am subtly trying to enforce good eating by providing options. I find that all of these snacks are easily gluten free which makes it very easy to have kids converge on the kitchen as their school day ends.