School is out for summer, and the playground is being swapped for the backyard as kids return home. Instead of school cafeterias taking care of their mid-day meals, kids will be rooting around in the kitchen to scrounge up a an afternoon treat or lunch. To help you get ready for this pint-sized kitchen invasion, we’ve got eight snack and lunch recipes to have on hand so that when your kids start asking what there is to eat, you’ll have plenty of options at the ready.
1. Oatmeal breakfast cookies
Before sending the kids outside to play, taking them to the pool, or dropping them off at a summer camp or sports lesson for a few hours, give them plenty of fuel for their activities with this breakfast cookie from Momables. Kids will be delighted that they get to eat cookies for breakfast and you’ll be satisfied that they’re getting a healthy dose of protein, fiber, and omega-3s with their breakfast. If you can’t stomach giving your kids cookies for breakfast, have them on hand for an afternoon treat. It makes twelve large cookies.
- ½ mashed banana (about 1 large)
- ½ cup natural peanut butter (or non peanut)
- ½ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup ground flax seed (or an add’l ¼c flour)
- ¼ cup nonfat milk powder or vanilla protein powder (+2TB of water if dough is too thick)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat two cookie sheets with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together banana, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, ground flax, milk powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir the oat mixture into the banana mixture until combined. Stir in dried cranberries.
Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, drop mounds of dough 3 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. With a thin metal or small plastic spatula dipped in water, flatten and spread each mound of dough to a 2¾-inch round, about ½ inch thick.
Bake, one sheet at a time, for 14 to 16 minutes or until browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months; thaw before serving.
2. Whole fruit popsicles
Get your kids to eat more fruit with homemade popsicles. Nourishing Meals has a popsicle recipe that uses whole fruits, which gives this cool summer treat a naturally sweet taste.
- 3 cups watermelon puree (about ¼ to ½ a watermelon)
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
- 1 peach or nectarine, diced small
- handful fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
Directions: Cut the watermelon into chunks and then puree it in a blender until smooth. Set aside. Set out about 1 dozen popsicle molds (amount needed will vary depending on size of molds). Fill each one with the chopped fresh fruit. Then pour in the watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top. Place a popsicle stick into each one. Place into your freezer and freeze for about 6 to 8 hours. When ready to serve, run the popsicle molds under warm water for a few seconds and then pull each one out. Enjoy!
3. Strawberry Greek yogurt popsicles
It is possible that protein and fruit are something you wish your kids had just a little bit more of in their diets. Another refreshing, healthy popsicle treat kids and adults will love are The Foodie Physician‘s Greek yogurt version.
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar, honey or other sweetener
- 1½ cups vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
Directions: Place the strawberries and 2 tablespoons agave nectar in a food processor and puree until it is smooth with some small chunks of fruit. Mix the yogurt and remaining tablespoon agave nectar in a bowl until smooth. Spoon 2 to 3 teaspoons of the strawberry puree into the bottom of each popsicle mold and then spoon about 1½ tablespoons yogurt on top of the fruit. Repeat with another layer each of strawberry puree and yogurt.
Place the popsicle sticks into the popsicles, cover and freeze for a few hours until solid. Alternatively, if you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use small paper cups. To unmold, dip the popsicle molds in warm water to loosen them and then pull the popsicles out.
4. Pizza wraps
Wrap meets pizza in this recipe from The Weary Chef. Lavash — a flatbread — was used in the original recipe, but any tortilla-like bread will work. You may have to adjust the measurements and cooking though, depending on the size of your bread.
- 4 sheets of flatbread (tortilla, naan, lavash)
- 2 cups pizza sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- your favorite pizza toppings (mushroom, bell peppers, chicken, pepperoni, etc)
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread about ½ cup pizza sauce on each sheet of lavash. Leave about an inch margin on the two long sides and one short side. Evenly spread your desired toppings over the sauce, and then sprinkle ½ cup cheese over each.
Starting with the the short end covered with sauce/toppings all the way to the edge, roll your pizza wrap into a tube. Carefully transfer it seam side down to a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil. (You may need two baking sheets for four.) Drizzle about 1 teaspoon over the top of each wrap, and rub it in to evenly cover. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until brown on the outside and cheese is melted.
5. Seasoned popcorn
A night out for an open-air movie screening can be a great family activity in the summer months, and by making your own popcorn at home, you’ll save money over what is being charged at the concession stand. Taste of Home‘s popcorn also makes for a great mid-day snack. It makes about 2 quarts, and you can adjust the seasonings to your family’s taste.
- 8 cups air-popped popcorn
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic salt
Directions: Place popcorn in a large bowl. Drizzle with butter. Combine the remaining ingredients; sprinkle over popcorn and toss to coat.
You’ll want to nab the kid’s lunch when Alton Brown’s Food Network mini man burgers are on the menu. It makes eight bite-sized burgers, making them great for a play-date — or if the adults want to eat at the kid’s table too.
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 8 (3-inch) buns or rolls, split in half
- 2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Directions: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat a griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Line a jellyroll or sheet pan with parchment paper, and place the ground chuck in the middle of the pan. Cover the meat with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Roll meat with a rolling pin until it covers the surface of the pan; it should be very thin. Remove the plastic wrap, and sprinkle the meat with the seasoning mixture. Fold the meat in half, from side to side, using the parchment paper. Use a pizza wheel to cut the meat into eight even squares.
Wrap the buns in foil and place in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the burgers on the griddle and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the buns from the oven. Spread a small amount of mayonnaise on each bun and top with the burger and any other condiments, as desired. Serve immediately.
7. Apples and dip
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and, with one of these dips, your kids will gladly ask for apple slices. Something Swanky has a peanut butter apple dip that ups the ante on protein by adding Greek yogurt. Follow the ratios from the original recipe to increase the servings.
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- ½ tablespoon honey
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if not eating right away.
In this AllRecipes.com version, cream cheese gets a dash of brown sugar and vanilla for apple dipping delight.
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Directions: Stir together the cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is smooth.
8. Frozen chocolate bananas
For a no-bake sweet treat make Cookie‘s frozen chocolate bananas via Epicurious. You can control how sugary the snack will be depending on whether you add sprinkles — or sneak in some slightly healthy ingredients with chopped nuts or granola.
- 2 ripe but firm bananas
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, or semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup granola, chopped pecans and walnuts, or sprinkles (optional)
Directions: Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper. Cut the bananas in half and insert a popsicle stick into each half, as shown. Place them on the baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate with the oil in a measuring cup in the microwave (check it every 30 seconds) or in a half-full pan of simmering water (about 2 minutes). Stir until smooth. Roll each banana half in the chocolate, then quickly sprinkle with your topping (if using). Freeze until the chocolate sets, 30 minutes. Serve or freeze in an airtight container for up to a week.