Great Snacking All School Year Long

September 28, 2011 by Amy Clark

Now that we’re well into the school year, I’ve gotten in the groove of preparing healthy and fun snacks for my kids to enjoy in their lunchboxes and when they return home from their long days at school.

Make healthy snacking accessible

Whether packing those lunchboxes in the morning, or grabbing a fast snack after school, I try to keep healthy snacks at the ready so my kids can be part of the healthy snack solution.  Our pantry has a basket that is accessible to the children with healthy snacks for grabbing. Our kitchen table centerpiece just so happens to be the ultimate convenience food – fruit.  Fill your baskets with lots of healthy options like raisins, granola bars, whole grain crackers, fruit leathers, and popcorn for popping.

Bake once, feast for days

Designate one day a week to tackle the baking task. I love to double or triple batches of light quick breads and muffins so that my children can enjoy these throughout the week in their lunches.

Freezing these treats is a cinch and a wonderful way to prolong the delicious goodness of your baking day. Make sure your bread and muffins completely cool before wrapping or freezing. To freeze, wrap securely in aluminum foil, freezer wrap or place in freezer bags. Label all packages with the name of the recipe and date. Use within the recommended storage time (up to 3 months) for the best flavor and texture.

Create your own snack mixes and granolas

My favorite thing to make for my kids is homemade trail mixes that I make from pantry odds and ends.  There’s no specific formula, just a good balance of nuts, dried fruits, cereal/crackers, and a little something sweet to satisfy my children. Granola can also be made from pantry ingredients and used as a fun yogurt topper.

Think outside the box

It’s easy to get into a snack rut, but think outside the box with snack choices. Delicious fresh fruit smoothies, small veggie tray with hummus, pita chips with fruit salsa, or even an English muffin veggie pizza are fun ways to refuel after school. Try to think of food combinations or flavors that your children love for their breakfast, lunch, or dinner and do a small-scale version for afternoon snacking. You might be surprised how many new snacks you can create from the dishes they are already in love with.

These have everything I want in a good muffin: whole wheat flour, wheat germ, blueberries, bananas, and a little bit of sweetness. The muffin is light with bursts of berries throughout. If blueberries aren’t your favorite, you can halve the amount of blueberries, or even cut fresh blueberries in half. The toasty wheat germ on top adds a little bit of texture to the tops.


Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins


  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas (about 1 pound)
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat (2 percent) milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ, for sprinkling on top


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, mash bananas with a fork (you should have 3/4 cup); stir in milk and vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in frozen blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle the tops with a little wheat germ for an added crunch. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20-22 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool in pan 10 minutes; transfer muffins to a rack to cool 10 minutes more.

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.