Powering Up Snack Time

by Laura on October 15, 2012

in Food, Planning

Another collaborative post with Rosanna. In her blog Table Talk by Rosanna, she writes: Embrace Sports as a Lesson in Living.

Now that the school year is in full swing, I find myself making lunches for four, then scrambling to find an after school snack that will help power them through homework, soccer, gymnastics, and just plain being a kid.

Sometimes I’m energized in the evening to make lunches and snacks for the next day, other times, I find myself in the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning baking muffins or scones for snacks, and scavenging the cupboards for something other than crackers — all the while I’m trying to jog my memory and remember who likes what and which child won’t even think of touching the peanut butter and cracker concoction I’m now packing into their lunch.

Energized and ready to play.

Flash forward 8 hours, and you may find me combing the grocery store aisles for after-school snacks to give the kids. Oh sure, there is plenty there that they would love (their favorites are ZBars and Lifeway ProBugs™), but most of the time, I’d rather give them something that comes from my kitchen.

The problem is, I’m trying to stay ahead of their feeding frenzies and avoid the stress that comes when they race into the kitchen begging for food just as I’m trying to get dinner started. I need some quick-to-fix, tasty and filling snacks that will give them a boost through the late afternoon, whether they’re on the playing field or doing their homework.

This past weekend, I decided enough was enough. I set aside an hour to peruse my cookbooks and magazines in search of recipes for some tasty snacks to help them get though whatever the afternoon has to offer. Not only will they be happier, but I’m sure I will be too.

Dips are quick and easy to make, and provide the perfect nudge to keep kids interested in eating their vegetables. And, for those times when I let them reach for the tortilla chips, I’ll be sure to have the Hip Bean Dip, from Mollie Katzen, on hand, I feel a bit better about it. Made with black beans, cumin and a bit of tomato juice, is perfect for offering protein, vitamins and fiber. It’s even great for my burrito-loving little girl, who will enjoy it spread on tortillas and rolled up. Another great dip recipe, High Protein Ranch Dip, from Momables, can be found below.

Hip Bean Dip (Yields: 2 cups)

  • 1, 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lime
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup tomato juice or V-8 juice (optional)

Place beans in food processor, along with 1 tbsp of line juice. Add the garlic, cumin, and salt and run the food processor until everything is mushed together. If the dip seems a bit stiff, ad the tomato juice (or V-8) and process until smooth.


High Protein Ranch Dip

Recipe courtesy of Momables

For the Mix (makes 4 TB):

  • 2 TB dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder

Measure each spice and add into a bowl.

For a powdery like texture, pour mixture in a coffee bean grinder and pulse for 15-20 seconds.

For the dip:

  • 1 (6oz) container plain Real California Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tsp seasoning mix according to taste


The smoothie is one of my kids’ favorites, and is perfect for enjoying after school when they head off to an activity. Dairy Council of California suggests blending low-fat California Milk or yogurt with fresh fruit and ice and pour into a bright colored thermos to keep it cold until lunchtime. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie from Momables.com provides all the health benefits of dairy in a few super tasty sips.

For those after school practices, when kids are eating on the go, give them homemade versions of their favorite power bars. One of our favorite recipes for granola bars is theCranberry Walnut Power Bars. I’m also partial to this new power bar recipe from The Wanna Be Chef.


1 cup pitted medjool dates

1/2 cup peanuts

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup of chocolate chips

In a food processor, process dates and peanuts until they begin to form a paste.

Add in peanut butter and continue to process until a dough begins to form.

Add in chocolate chips and pulse a few times to combine.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap and spoon in date mixture. Press into rectangle, about 3/4 of an inch thick. Refrigerate 1-2 hours until firm. Picking up parchment liner, remove from loaf pan and cut into individual bars. Wrap individually and store in refrigerator.


We rarely buy potato chips, but often have pretzels and tortilla chips on hand. On occasion, we like to make we like to make Mollie Katzen’s Honest Pretzels. They’re happy to devour these, and when paired with a dip, I can be assured they’ll get an added energy boost.

Sit down snacks are the staple when we head home directly after school. Once they hit the front door, they quickly drop their backpacks and head straight to the kitchen cupboards in search of some graham crackers, cereal or some chocolate. After a quick look at the status of their lunch (i.e. how much they actually ate of it), I’m looking to give them something that will serve as a mini meal that will satisfy them for the next two hours before dinner. Some of their favorites include: Cinnamon toast with a side of cinnamon apples, Quinoa and pinto beansPita Sandwiches stuffed with chopped salad and cheese, and Bulgur Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts

For a bit more inspiration, check out these great ideas from the Dairy Council of California. Also, be sure to check out their series of healthy classroom party ideas, called Five Food Group Fares.





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