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5 healthy after-school snacks your kids will gobble up

After a long day of reading, writing and solving common core math, you know the first thing kids do when they get home, after dumping their backpacks at the front door, is forage the kitchen for a snack.

To bust out of the same-old-snack routine, we reached out to some super creative Chicago moms and a dad who have battled the munchie monster with healthy treats perfect for settling down with homework before dinner.

Banana Sushi! by Kelíta Hollins

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas
  • 3 tsp. nut butter
  • 3 tsp. Rice Krispies
  • 1 tsp. sprinkles or semi sweet
  • chocolate chips
  • ½  tsp. chia seeds
  • ½ tsp. coconut

* Vegetarian/gluten free

* These toppings are simply suggestions. You can literally use anything that your heart desires!

Directions

  • Peel bananas
  • Roll banana pieces into any toppings you crave
  • Cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

Kelíta Hollins—Coach K—is regional director of fitness for Orangetheory Oak Park and Hyde Park as well as an Orangetheory Fitness model. Outside of the orange lights, she is a wife and mommy to what she calls her two wild boys, Mason & Max.

Follow her on Instagram @mamakfit

Toad in Hole by Chef Art Smith

Ingredients

  • Buttered wheat bread
  • 1 egg
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Cut center out of bread. Butter bread and toast on both sides in a nonstick pan.
  • Break egg in empty center of bread.
  • Salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  • Cook till desired fineness.

Celebrity Chef Art Smith is a former chef to Oprah Winfrey for more than a decade. He is a restaurateur, bestselling author and founder of the children’s charity, commonthreads.org. He says the family raises their own chickens to teach the kids about food.

Together with husband of 10 years, Jesus R. Salgueiro, they have four children, all siblings adopted together, Angel Jesus, 17, Brando Arthur, 14, Zumy Iris, 12, and Zuky Francis, 11.

Follow him on Instagram @thechefartsmith

Magical Unicorn Food by Nancy Weiss

Unicorns have been described as providing a feeling of perpetual bliss. They are mystical creatures that bring pure happiness and satisfaction. Perhaps this explains why so many young children are obsessed with them. 

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 bag gummy bears
  • 2 cups regular or gluten-free pretzels
  • 1 package good quality white and/or dark chocolate
  • Sprinkles, colored gold dust, colorful non-perils candy
  • Sea salt (to taste)

*This recipe can be as creative and imaginative as you and your kids like. You also can substitute about 5 cups of rice Chex for the popcorn.

Directions

  • Place the coconut oil in a pan with 3 kernels of corn and heat. When the kernels pop, the oil is hot enough add the rest of the 2/3 cup of kernels in an even layer. Then cover with a lid and pop. Gently shake your pan until all kernels are popped—be careful not to burn the corn. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove popcorn from heat.
  • Add the popcorn to a large bowl and then add the pretzels and the gummy bears.
  • Melt your chocolate in the microwave—this will only take about 1 ½ minutes.
  • Pour the melted chocolate into the popcorn and pretzels, shake a few dashes of sea salt into the mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the popcorn mixture onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Add the candy decorations (this is when the kids get excited about helping.)
  • Allow it to set about an hour and then break it into pieces. I stored the unicorn food it in zip-close bags.

As an over-50 fashion blogger, Nancy Weiss seeks to inspire women to find the best personal version of themselves. She also is a grandmother to five: four granddaughters between 6 and 12 and a 2-month-old grandson. She shares fashion ideas, along with some tried and true recipes, and this one alone has made her grandmother of the year. 

Follow her on Instagram @a.two.drink.minimum

Fruit Kabobs and Confetti Dip by Tiffany Hinton

These fun kabobs make a healthy snack packed full of phytonutrients and the colors of the rainbow. Use your imagination to create fun shapes or your child’s favorite animal! 

Ingredients

  • Choose 5-6 fruits of your choice. We suggest watermelon, honeydew, grapes, blueberries, pears, pineapple and strawberries.
  • 1 6-ounce container of Greek yogurt (or substitute your favorite vegan cream cheese) 
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. of sprinkles (we love Wilton’s new dye-free rainbow confetti)

Directions

  • Slice fruit in 1/2-inch slices vertically. Allow your child to use a small cookie cutter to cut out shapes for the kabobs. Alternatively, you can cut the fruit into 1-inch squares or other shapes. 
  • Working as a pair, slide the fruit onto skewers using the pointed end to push through the fruit. 
  • Mix the Greek yogurt with the maple syrup completely, then stir in the sprinkles. 

*If you are making the kabobs ahead of time, sprinkle with lemon or pineapple juice. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Tiffany Hinton is the author of the No. 1 Amazon best-sellers, Gluten Free Mom Certified and Mom Certified Celebrates Heritage. She is an award-winning entrepreneur, public speaker, influencer and health coach for the gluten-free, allergen sensitive community. She is mom to three girls, Franki, 8, Lillie, 6,  and Josi, 5.

Follow her on Instagram @gfmomcertified

Photo by Life N Reflection 

‘Sushi’ sandwich rolls by Gabbie Linzi

We love making “sushi” sandwich rolls, they make our world go round! 

Ingredients

  • Bread
  • Butter of your choice
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  • Roll bread thin with a rolling pin
  • Spread whatever butter and other spread on top
  • Roll up each slice individually and cut into sushi-size bites.
  • Coat the top with sprinkles!

Gabbie Linzi is a fourth generation restaurateur and works at her dad’s steakhouse, EJ’s Place in Skokie, and has worked at her grandfather’s Erie Cafe in Chicago. In addition to running after her kids, Edmund, 9, and Emma, 3, she manages agiftofgabbie.com.

Follow her on Instagram @gabbiechicago


Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram.


This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.

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