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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Feeding Kids After School...

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Like so many other moms, I have super hungry kids that come in the door every day after school.
They are hungry and want to eat.
No if, ands for buts.
I see it as an opportunity to feed them something that will really nourish their bodies.
{Below~fruit plate with a yogurt dip}
 My son takes a packed lunch to school and usually eats all of it.
Since he attends a sports academy for school, his school day includes lots of physical activity and he comes home ready for another meal.
My daughter is in High School.
She used to take  a packed lunch, but this year although I pack something for her, she chooses not to take it.
This does not make me happy, but I can't force her.
What I can do is make sure that there are healthy & nourishing things ready and on the table for when she gets home.
All my children have to do is wash their hands and sit down.
I call it the '3 o'clock special'.
Of course, I could let them rummage around the pantry for whatever they want...but I am home and I can really shore up a healthy diet for them by offering/making great food available.
{Below~spicy tzatziki with carrots and naan bread wedges}

 There are 3 days a week that one or both children have sports activities around dinnertime.
So instead of feeding them a snack....hoping it will hold them over until them get home after their sports practice...I just go ahead and feed them supper at 3 o'clock.
This makes sense for so many reasons....the first of which is it satisfys their hunger right away.
I know they are eating healthy doses of fresh fruits and vegetables...especially during cold & flu season.
And when they get home from practice, they only need a light snack.
And I am not left cleaning up the kitchen at 8 o'clock at night after a late supper.
On this particular day, I served my homemade Italian Wedding Soup along with a fruit tray, a veggie tray and rolls.
I usually eat with them, and I put the leftovers in the fridge for hubby...who meets the children at their  sports practice and brings them home.
Then while hubby eats supper, the children eat their snack with him at the table.
The other 4 nights, we eat supper as a family together.
 I have found that this is the best plan that works for our family.
And the kids are really happy to eat a meal when they get home from school...it seems to be their 'hungriest' time.
Even if I worked outside the home, I would still try to have a fruit or veggie tray in the fridge and ready for them to eat. And homemade soup ready to heat up.
This {below}was the '3 o'clock' special yesterday....crab cakes, a spinach salad, whole wheat pasta with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes, and fresh pineapple spears.
This meal was also a bonus because there was enough spinach salad and pasta left for today.
We really try to avoid the trap of drive-thrus and fast food.
And what really helps a healthy meal happen is menu planning on Sunday for the week.
Planning. Planning. Planning.
It is so important!





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22 comments:

jenny said...

What is tzatziki? That's something I've never heard of. I love to try new recipes, even if it ends up being one my little guys turn up their noses at. Would you consider sharing??
Thanks!

Rustown Mom said...

YUM, it all looks so healthy and good. We usually do snack foods after school, then dinner around 6:30 p.m., except on scout nights. Then I warn the boys to eat a hearty snack to tide them over til 9 p.m. My policy is eat what I fixed, or make a peanut butter sammie. I try not to carp at them for not liking what I cook; I just make other things available. More and more it's what mom and dad would prefer that I cook. Eventually, the boys' tastes will catch up. (:

Jeanna said...

Well I think my kids and I will be over in a few to have after school snack with you. Your snacks look so yummy...

Jeanna @ dramaqueenseams.com

Christine said...

Yum Yum Yummy!!!! I'm certain my Gabrielle would enjoy those ''snacks'' when she gets back from school!

Renee Living Laughing Loving said...

Yummo!! I love the idea of early supper/late snack instead of the other way around!
I agree too... menu planning makes ALL the difference!!

Nancy said...

Love the fruit tray after school idea. When my family was growing up we had our supper around 3:30, it was just the best time for hungry children.

Katy (France) said...

Oh my goodness, that looks so delicious! In France it is traditional for children to have a snack when they get in from school and I quite often prepare a fruit plate. I love the idea of the tzatziki, alhthough I think my kids would prefer hummus!

Suze said...

Love your ideas for the after school hunger! Here in Australia my kids have just started the school year this past Monday and I have been thinking about what to feed them - this post was inspired!

Cindy said...

You are so organized and obviously a great mom. I enjoy reading how you meet obstacles and find a solution. This one is wonderful!
And your meal and snack look and sound delicious!
Hugs, Cindy

Lindsey Brackett said...

Why have I never thought of doing this? Soccer season is upon us and that sounds great. The 3 o'clock special will be appearing at the Bracketts very soon.

Lynnsey said...

Ummm, can I come to your house for the 3 o'clock special?! YUM!

Jonnique said...

This looks delish! I am a follower! Can you please post this at my Taste This Thursday party!? www.bellmiracle.blogspot

Mandy@OrangeAutumn said...

YUMMY!! All the food looks fantastic. I've fallen out of my planning meals and I can really tell by what I've been eating! I love how organized you are.

Danielle said...

I agree, planning is the most important part. Sometimes I make dinner the night before, so all I have to do when I get home from work is heat it up. Not really what I feel like doing at 8 oclock at night, but boy am I glad the next night when I come home from work and dinner is done. This meal looks delish and healthy : )
How did you prepare your whole wheat pasta w/ olive oil? It looks yummy!

Danielle

Trish - Mom On Timeout said...

Look delicious - I can't imagine anyone turning down such tasty snacks! I'd love for you to share with my readers if you get the chance. Have a great weekend! http://www.momontimeout.com/2012/01/taking-timeout-thursday-no-14.html

barbara@hodge:podge said...

I too have amazingly hungry kids after school but I am tad lazy in making snacks. I really need to plan a bit more and have fabulous snacks like you have ready to go!

Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista said...

Just found you from Tatertots and Jello, and I'm now following you. I love this idea. I feed my kids a "real" breakfast and dinner, and lunch gets a bit lost in the day, but this inspired me to maybe feed them more of a meal after school.

Stephanie said...

Would you be willing to share your recipes? I'm always looking for new ideas for snacks and dinner.

Morgan said...

I'm jealous of your kids, haha! =) In high school my mom worked late so I was on my own. After school snacks are essential though! After 8 hours at a desk I know I was starving.

Aimee - ItsOverflowing.com said...

It all looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing at Overflowing with Creativity! Here's a link in case you want to register for my giveaway!

Ramsign Giveaway: Porcelain Enamel Sign {up to $99 value}

XO, Aimee

Lauren @ mercy(INK) said...

I absolutely love the idea of taking advantage of the after school hunger with fresh fruit & veggies instead of junk... what a brilliant idea! would LOVE for you to share it with on my Back to School Board link up at http://www.mercyinkblog.com/back-to-school-tips-tricks-tools
so encouraging!
lauren

Rachel Page said...

Feeding the kids with meals instead of snacks after school is a great idea.

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