Browsing through Pinterest you are bound to come across some stellar snack spreads, magnificent bento boxes and frame-worthy fruit platters. But who has the time? Or the talent? If your Pinterest finds turn into Pinterest fails most of the time, then you will love these easy snack ideas.
These have all been tested by my toddler and school-aged son and made by me – a mum with about as much culinary skill as a potato. If I can make these snacks look decent and delicious, then anyone can. Trust me.
We’ve got snacks to nibble at home which may include nuts, as well as nut-free and allergy-friendly options especially designed to wrap up and take to school.
For snack time at home
Check out this adorable rainbow salad complete with your daily dose of veggies. All you need to taste the rainbow are capsicums, cauliflower, salad dressing and yellow food colouring to make the pot of gold.
My toddler loves Nutella. If she could, she would probably sleep in a jar of the stuff. So Nutella and banana sushi went down extremely well. All you need is a wholewheat wrap with a little hazelnut spread on it and a banana. Simply roll the wrap, cut it into small pieces and voila! For an allergy-friendly version, swap Nutella for a dollop of honey.
These veggie stop lights will probably work for school snacks too, as long as you wrap them tightly enough. All you need to make them is sliced celery, cream cheese and different coloured capsicum pieces for the colours of lights. Or… cheat and use M&Ms like I did.
Fruit cones are also a great idea for a healthy alternative to an ice cream cone. We always have waffle cones in the pantry due to my husband’s obsession with ice cream. To really treat the kids and ramp up the healthy vibe, add a dollop of yoghurt to the top.
Carrot fries are delicious fresh out of the oven. Simply slice, sprinkle with the tiniest hint of salt if you like, then drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a 180°c oven for 12 minutes and you have your very own rendition of fast food.
For school lunches
Sandwiches are a staple but they can be boring. These adorable spider sandwiches are sure to shock your kids in the nicest possible way. The recipe image includes peanut butter and jam but it is easy enough to swap the fillings to something a little more school-lunch-friendly like cream cheese and avocado or perennial Aussie staple Vegemite. Use pretzels for the legs and sultanas for the eyes and wrap as you normally would.
I often pair my son’s sandwich with cheese and crackers as a morning snack. And usually the cheese returns home soggy and the crackers come back crumbled into pieces. Not anymore! Simply swap the crackers for stick pretzels, wrap ham and cheese around it and you’ve got Ham and Cheese Swords.
Or how about this block-tastic take on cheese and crackers? Lego snacks are simply cheese and crackers cut carefully into bricks and circles. Bonus points if you use a different coloured cheese for the circles on top.
Sweet baby cheeses – these Babybel umbrellas are bite sized gold mines. My son came home from school showering me in praise for this rainy day snack. And they are so simple too! Cut the Babybel cheese in half, add the end of a straw to the bottom and wrap to keep them fresh until lunch time.
Rather than putting your children’s snack foods like grapes, popcorn and berries, in a regular container, use a snap lock bag, a peg, some googly eyes and a pipe cleaner. I was able to make these little butterfly snack packs in only a few minutes using the glue gun I found hidden in the back of the closet where it has been collecting dust for three years.
Simply arranging the veggies into a smiley face or crafting up a clever picture out of the fruit is often all it takes to make your child’s snack time extra special. You don’t have to go nuts but if you want to up the snack stakes check out Lunchbox Dad’s sandwich art. His character-inspired lunch boxes are almost too awesome to eat.
What clever culinary creations do you make to ensure your little ones’ plates are licked clean and their lunch boxes return home empty?