But have you seen those recipe books for children’s snacks which are so complicated and fiddly you’d be exhausted from all that preparation before you even closed the door?
Fancy foods are all very well for special occasions and days when you really want to cook but the whole idea of a snack is that it should be quick and easy to prepare and use ingredients you already have in stock!
So let’s go back to basics with instant nibbles for hungry little ones – here are my top tips:
Cut bread/wrap/roll into small shapes and fill with cheese, tuna, leftover meat, chicken or any of your favourite fillings plus lettuce, cucumber & grated carrot.
Tip: put items that make sandwiches soggy into a separate container and add to buttered bread just before eating.
Cut piece of cheese, celery, snow peas, capsicum, carrot, zucchini into sticks and eat on the run!
Banana chunks, apple boats (pour over a little orange or lemon juice to avoid browning), orange or mandarin segments along with any other fruit favourites – tip; small pieces seem to last longer.
Cooked pasta, home-popped popcorn, rice cakes, crackers, left over pizza, dip made with ricotta cheese and French onion soup mix (with vegetable sticks), corn on the cob, hard boiled eggs, sliced ham and cold meats, pita chips made by sprinkling cheese over pita bread wedges and baking in a moderate oven until crispy.
Snacks high in sugar should be given in very small portions to look after those young teeth! These include dried fruit, breakfast cereal pieces, muesli bars, commercial biscuits and lollies. Just a couple with a drink of water is a special treat.
Water is the best drink to take away. It doesn’t harm teeth or stain clothes, carpet or expensive waiting room furniture! For an expected long-time away in hot weather, freeze drink first if you have time.
Beware of noisy foods and/or containers on occasions when quietness is expected. Nothing annoys adults more at school assemblies, ballet concerts or waiting rooms than the sound of rustling cellophane wrappers or loud munching! Choose soft items like cheese sticks or bananas for those moments.
If you are taking snacks into a supermarket, use food and a container which have obviously not just been taken off the shelf. This avoids terrible embarrassment at the checkout!
Take snacks and a drink with you anywhere it is possible. Your child might get hungry /thirsty or need distracting while you are busy; in the car, shopping centre, doctor or hospital waiting room, hairdresser, school assemblies, pre-primary concerts, meetings, bus and train stations, airports, visiting friends or relatives who don’t know or don’t remember much about young children!
Most people don’t mind if your little one is quietly eating but be aware of mess and always take a plastic bag, tissues, baby wipes or a damp flannel for cleaning up the child and the environment!
Kath is a mum of three who works part time and enjoys writing and catching up with other stressed out mums in her spare time. Usually she’s racing against the clock to make her boys (+ husband) arrive anywhere on time and feels quite the talented mother when two out of the three make it out of the house with shoes on!