Sure, a snack can be as simple as a piece of fruit or some chips -- and let's be honest, most of the time, snacks are for refueling as quickly as possible. But sometimes it's nice to have something a little special, whether because it's been a tough school day or because your kids have a few friends over. Here are seven reasonably healthy snacks that fit the bill -- all peanut-free, all great for kids, and all easy to make in under 10 minutes. Note: As always, check ingredients on packaged foods, as they are subject to change without notice.
You can make endless variations on this dairy-free smoothie recipe by varying the type of fruit or juice you include. Simple enough that a preschooler can help with most of the preparation, and assuming your blender's dishwasher-safe, cleanup's a breeze to boot.
Even though they're green, avocados get a pass from many kids because of their mild taste. This is a sweeter and more kid-friendly guacamole than many recipes. Tortilla chips are the classic accompaniment, and they're also good with vegetable chips.
3. Kid-Friendly Appetizer "Platters"
Multi-compartment TV trays make ordinary finger foods seem special to kids. They're also great for a kid who's hungry but not sure about what she wants, or for feeding two or three kids at a time. My daughter's current favorite combination is shredded cheese, flaxseed crackers, Just Veggies dried mixed vegetables, and dried cranberries. But any snacks your child normally enjoys will work. Nothing could be simpler.
4. Caramel Corn
In about the time it takes to pop a bag of microwave popcorn, you can make a simple caramel syrup -- sweeter and tastier than plain butter and salt. A nice peanut-free alternative to Cracker Jack and similar snacks.
5. Breakfast for Snacktime
To some kids, the idea of serving breakfast foods outside of breakfast time is tremendously amusing. While most kids (make that most everyone!) would probably find a grand Southern-style spread of bacon, eggs, grits, biscuits, and gravy a little overwhelming in the middle of the afternoon, some might find a bowl of cereal, a grapefruit and juice -- or even a scrambled egg or two -- a novel change of pace once in a while.
These look elegant and special, and strawberries are a favorite of many kids. Looking for safe granola for this recipe? Make your own peanut-free granola, or buy it from an allergy-friendly manufacturer like Enjoy Life Foods.
7. Grownup-Style Cheese Tray
Many kids who can tolerate dairy love cheese, and this plus some clever presentation may let you sneak in some new tastes without offending picky palates. Strongly aged cheeses, goat and sheep milk cheeses, and cheeses with spicy peppers or other strong flavors may not go over well with most kids. But many kids will try cheddar and similar cheeses, havarti, gouda, mild Swiss cheeses, and soft cheeses like Brie. Try introducing some less familiar fruits -- figs, dates, currants -- along with the cheeses and letting kids eat with toothpicks for fun. Peanut-free crackers (be sure to check labels) are a nice touch, too.