Do your kids come home from school and say they are "starving!" Mine do and I am always trying to come up with snack ideas that they will like, are at least somewhat healthy, will fill them up (but not to spoil dinner), and don't always come out of a box.

Take stock of your kitchen

First of all, consider what is sitting around your house? Do you have bowls of fruit on the counter or fresh foods hidden in the crisper drawer of your fridge? Are your cupboards stocked with pre-made boxed snacks or do you lean towards real foods? Start a list of foods that would be great to have stocked for any grab and go snack.

1. Fruit (fresh, frozen, canned or dried).
2. Fresh vegetables.
3. Dips.
4. Whole grain crackers.
5. Cheese.
6. Yogurt.
7. Nuts.

Simple “recipe” ideas

Then when your kitchen is well stocked, try some very simple recipes that make the basics above a bit more interesting.

1. Whole wheat pita with salsa.
2. Cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter.
3. Cottage cheese topped with sweet peppers, cucumbers or tomatoes, or pineapple, pears or peaches.
4. Hummus with baby carrots, celery or sweet peppers.
5. Baked potato topped with salsa.
6. Water packed tuna on a cracker or breadstick.
7. English muffin topped with sliced tomato and cheese – toasted.
8. Sliced deli turkey wrapped around cantaloupe, pickle or sweet peppers.
9. Apple or banana with peanut butter.
10. Hard-boiled egg and a slice of whole wheat toast.
11. Plain yogurt, frozen raspberries or blueberries and chopped walnuts.
12. Refried beans spread on a whole wheat tortilla, sprinkled with cheese and heated.
13. Whole wheat waffle topped with peanut butter and sliced banana.
14. Whole wheat English muffin topped with pizza/spaghetti sauce, shredded cheese and heated.
15. Scrambled egg (can be done in the microwave), wrapped in a tortilla with shredded cheese and salsa.

Ask for help

If your kids don’t love these ideas or others you have created, ask for their ideas. Perhaps, give them some boundaries. For example, make a list of snack ideas you will enjoy – they must include a protein and a fruit or vegetable. See what they come up with. If they have thought of the ideas themselves, they are more likely to be on board with new things.

Be prepared

The simpler you make it, the easier your life and the more likely they may be to make the healthier choice. If you are home when your kids get home, take 5 minutes before they arrive to prepare a simple snack so it is ready to eat when they get there. If something isn’t ready, the more likely they will be to start opening cupboards looking for something that maybe won’t make your list of best choices.

If you are not home when school is out, take a few minutes before bed at night or in the morning to make sure there are options readily available. Even better – leave a note to remind them of what you have stocked the kitchen with so when they are hungry they don’t have to think, they can simply grab and eat.

I believe the key to any shift to healthier foods is planning and stocking your kitchen. Every day will not be perfect, but at a minimum if great options are available you are on your way to healthier and more satisfied kids.

Author's Bio: 

Lynda Enright, MS, RD, CLT is certified as a Wellness Coach and LEAP Therapist who partners with women who want to look and feel amazing by helping them lose weight and reduce inflammation which can cause fatigue, bloating, acid reflux, congestion, brain fog or achy joints. For FREE meal planning ideas to help you eat well, lose weight and reduce inflammation – click on the following to get Ten Meals In A Bag