After-school snacks

Raising Arizona Kids staff, writers, followers and friends submitted these creative ideas for after-school snacks, most of which are also apt to meet parental “must be nutritious” preferences.

Have you got a great idea for an after-school snack? Please share! Write to

Photos by Daniel Friedman unless otherwise indicated.

Disturbing Apple

Michelle’s Disturbing Stuffed Apples

This was my own personal snack as a kid in St. Louis. I used to get a large spoon and eat peanut butter by itself. Bad idea — one day I almost choked. So here is what I came up with instead:

Get a large Granny Smith apple or the apple of your choice.

Use a melon baller or spoon to core the apple. I used to also carve the outside like a Jack-o-Lantern. Bigger kids may want to try that.

Stuff the apple with peanut butter (chunky is my favorite). You may also add some granola, chocolate chips, coconuts flakes, popcorn (yes, popcorn — it goes great with peanut butter) or whatever you like.

Take a big bite out your apple and watch the peanut butter and the rest ooze out the eyes and mouth. As a kid I did this in front of my mother and it always left her speechless. — Submitted by RAK Art Director Michelle-Renee Adams

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

Whole-wheat bowtie or other shape pasta
Pinto beans or edamame
Lite Italian dressing
Mixed chopped veggies of your choice
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta and let cool. Add beans (or edamame)and veggies and toss with dressing. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and serve in a Dixie cup. — Submitted by Chrissy Barth, Chrissy is an East Valley nutrition and fitness consultant who blogs at

Peanut Butter Playdough

Peanut Butter Playdough

1 cup honey
2 cups powdered milk
2 cups peanut butter

Mix ingredients. Use for playdough or make shapes to be eaten. ‐ Submitted by RAK Calendar & Directories Editor Mala Blomquist

Make-Your-Own Tostadas

Make-Your-Own Tostadas

Tortillas (corn or small-size whole-grain)
No-fat refried beans
Shredded Mexican-style cheese or Colby-Monterey Jack blend
Shredded lettuce

Smear some refried beans on a tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over the beans and microwave one minute.

Top with shredded cheese and serve with salsa, if desired. Easy to do and there is protein in the cheese and (no-fat) refried beans. — Submitted by RAK writer Mary Ann Bashaw

Chix Strips

Here’s a great example of social networking at its finest. RAK writer Evelyn Hendrix saw the request for after-school snack ideas we pitched on Facebook. She sent it around to all of her friends and got several great ideas in response — including this one.

Buy boneless pre-sliced chicken breasts. Coat them in egg whites and roll them in crushed Special K cereal. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or ranch seasoning and bake. This is fast, easy, heathy and yummy. You can make it before the kids get home. — Submitted by Gilbert mom Alma Kerby

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/3 cup light olive oil
1/3 cup canola margarine
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups whole-wheat flour
½ cup flaxmeal
½ cup wheat germ
2 cups “quick” oatmeal
½ package dark chocolate chips

Cream margarine and oil. Add sugars, mix well. Add eggs, beat well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Form cookie dough into balls and bake at 375 degrees (on an ungreased pan covered in parchment paper) for nine minutes. — Submitted by RAK Publisher & Editor Karen Barr

Fresh Figs

Fresh Figs

RAK writer/photographer Daniel Friedman was at Trader Joe’s one day when he rediscovered a “purely no-prep snack” with aesthetic appeal to his artistic eye. “Most people don’t eat many fresh figs, which look weird inside but are very sweet,” he says. “It’s a way to break out of the peaches-grapes-nectarine rut of summer.” Because there is no recipe for figs beyond buy-wash-cut-eat, Dan suggests tying this snack activity to the “beautifully illustrated book” The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg. How’s that for a cross-promote? A fruit with a literary tie-in. Learn more about The Sweetest Fig.



Turkey Roll-Ups

Turkey Roll-Ups

Eat “food” for snacks! This is a more nutrient-rich option rather than typical “snack” fare such as chips and cookies. 

Turkey slices from the deli counter
Whole wheat tortillas
Shredded lettuce
Tomato slices
Avocado or lite ranch dressing

Roll ingredients in the tortilla, slice, and enjoy. —Submitted by Chrissy Barth, RD, CFT, RYT. Chrissy is an East Valley nutrition and fitness consultant who blogs at

Pizza Toast

Perfect Pizza Toast

A jar of pizza, or any marinara sauce
English muffins
Mozzarella or cheddar cheese
Basil or pepperoni (optional)

Toast the English muffin. When it is done, spread the sauce on top. Then sprinkle the cheese on and microwave until it melts. Finally, add pepperoni or basil if you like for garnish.

This also makes a quick and very good breakfast. Tip: Use leftover spaghetti sauce from dinner if you have some! — Submitted by Xavier College Preparatory student Annie Balint, daughter of RAK writer/producer Vicki Louk Balint.

Spinach Brownies

Spinach Brownies

Non-stick cooking spray
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup spinach puree
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened coca powder
2 tablespoons trans-fat free soft tub margarine spread
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 coat an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over low flame.

In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, coca powder, margarine and vanilla, whisk until smooth and creamy, one to two minutes.

Whisk in the egg whites. stir in the flour baking powder and salt with wooden spoon.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares. (Don’t serve warm; the spinach flavor won’t disappear until they’re completely cool.) — Submitted by RAK Account Executive Jenifer Jepson Wiggin, who got this recipe from her friend Angela Talbot in Portland, Ore.

Pita Crisps

Pita Crisps

Cut whole-wheat pitas into triangles. Brush with olive oil from the Queen Creek Olive Mill and sprinkle with the seasoning of your choice — salt or Italian seasoning. Bake at 450 degrees for five to eight minutes. Serve with hummous. The kids love ’em and they are easy! — Submitted by Phoenix mom and RAK technolgy blogger Catherine Wyman

Ants on a Log

Ants on a Log

Though she apologized profusely for being “not very original,” RAK Writer/Web Editor Brittney Walker was right on in reminding us about this fun and traditional favorite for kids who don’t have nut allergies. Just slather some peanut butter (choose the natural kind to avoid trans fats) on a piece of washed celery and sprinkle a few raisins on top. As Brittney said, “Kids always love them!”

Applejack Salad Bar

Applejack Salad Bar

This recipe is not only delicious, but it is also fun to make and surprisingly simple!

Apples, yogurt, honey, coconut shavings, raisins and nuts.

First, get out some apples. Parents can cut the apple up, but if the kids want to do it themselves (with supervision), let them!

Kids: Here’s the secret to safe cutting: Take a piece of apple and make a “bridge” by placing your thumb on one side and your pointer finger on the other side. Next take the other hand (the one with the knife) and cut down, between your thumb and pointer finger. Got it? Give it a whirl, but be sure to have an adult watching to make sure you’re being safe! Now that the hard part is done, make way for fun!

Take some little bowls out for your toppings: peanuts (or any kind of nuts), raisins, coconut shavings and anything else you think would be yummy. Place the apple slices in a bowl and then add some yogurt and honey to the mix. Once you have done this, add your toppings and stir. It’s time for eating! — Submitted by Xavier College Preparatory student Annie Balint, daughter of RAK writer/producer Vicki Louk Balint.

Toasted Cheese Creation

Toasted Cheese with Fresh Vegetable Confetti

One slice whole wheat bread
One slice part skim mozzarella cheese
6-8 fresh red, yellow, and orange pepper slices (thinly sliced)
2-4 black (or green) olive halves
4-6 persian cucumber slices (We get these small cucumbers at Trader Joe’s)

Place cheese on bread then toast in toaster oven. Remove. Top toasted cheese bread with fresh, red, yellow and orange peppers slices, cucumbers, black olive halves or any fresh vegetable of your choice. Nice combination of soft, chewy and crunch. Enjoy! — Submitted by RAK Writer and registered dietitian Judy Milas Davis, RD, who makes this with her daughter Mandy (10). “Each time, Mandy’s vegetable design is different,” Judy says. “She has fun with this!”)

Homemade Trail Mix

Homemade Trail Mix

Make your own trail mix with almonds, raisins, yogurt chips, dark chocolate chips…or whatever crunchy/salty/sweet mix your family enjoys! —Submitted by Chrissy Barth, RD, CFT, RYT. Chrissy is an East Valley nutrition and fitness consultant who blogs at

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Yeah, it has chocolate chips — but most of the rest of the ingredients are really healthy! This is a recipe I modified from a “Basic Whole Grain Quick Bread” recipe by Phoenix mom Nanci S. Moore. (That recipe originally was published in Parenting Potpourri: Recipes Made with Love, a cookbook fundraiser undertaken when I chaired the board of the North Central Parenting Group in 1988-89. Don’t do the math!)

Mix together:
2 cups finely ground whole wheat flour (Trader Joe’s 100% White Wheat Flour works great)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flaxmeal
1/3 cup brown sugar

Stir in:
3 medium ripe bananas (smashed up)
1 egg
1 cup low-fat milk
1/3 cup light olive oil (the “best for baking” kind)
1/2 package Nestle’s mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Stir just enough to moisten. Pour into two medium-size loaf pans (first spray with Pam). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. — Submitted by RAK Publisher & Editor Karen Barr


Edamame Snacks

Edamame (pronounced ed-ah-MA-may) is soybeans in the pod. Trader Joe’s sells them frozen and you can steam, boil or microwave them. Squeeze the pod open right into your mouth. Sprinkle a little salt or seasoning on them if you want. Add them to a salad. Edamame is a good source of protein without the saturated fat of meat or cheese. Here are 39 edamame recipes from Epicurious. The list includes edamame ice cream. I had a green bean popsicle when I visited my daughter in China. It was surprisingly good. —Submitted by RAK Writer/Photographer Daniel Friedman

Solvay's Smoothie

Solvay’s Smoothie

1 ripe banana, sliced
6 strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high. Enjoy! — Submitted by Solvay Blomquist (who turns 11 Aug 15), daughter of RAK Calendar & Directories Editor Mala Blomquist

Fruit Salad and Dip

Fruit Salad and Dip

Choose a selection of fruits that are in season and wash, slice or chop. (Try blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe chunks, raspberries, peach slices, apple slices, grapes and orange or tangerine slices.) Combine in a bowl.

For dip:
2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice

Combine plain or vanilla yogurt with orange juice. Add honey and cinnamon to taste — usually about two tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon. (Dip can be made ahead of time.) Makes two servings. — Submitted by Nora Carrillo, Healthy Steps Specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Cheese-Sprinkled Popcorn

Cheese-Sprinkled Popcorn

Ironic but true: the technically adept social media consultant we’ve been working with recently suggested a completely old-school approach to a universally appreciated snack: popcorn. No microwave popcorn for Katie Charland, a recent master’s degree graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She makes it the old-fashioned way: with real popcorn kernels, oil and a pan. Her secret ingredient comes in after the popping is finished. She likes to sprinkle her favorite snack with a bit of white cheddar cheese powder, which she gets at Fry’s for $1.12.

Cheese Face Snack

Cheese Faces

Let the kids carve their own designs in slices of Tillamook medium cheddar. Though cheese has a lot of fat, the absorption of nutrients from vegetables is enhanced when they are eaten with some fat. Don’t believe me? I got it straight from Cool huh? Plus the calcium in cheese is good for kids. Cheese faces can be carved to match the seasons — think Halloween and Valentine’s Day. My kids used to choose happy, sad or scary cheese faces. — Submitted by RAK Writer/Photographer Daniel Friedman


Loews Hotels Back-to-School Sushi-Style PB&J Roll-ups

1 loaf brioche bread
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup strawberry jelly
1 banana

Cut the brioche lengthwise, eight inches long and half an inch thick. Place bread on cutting board and flatten it a bit using your hand. Put the peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds, to slightly soften. Spread the peanut butter and jelly evenly on the brioche. Cut fine slices of banana; place it on top of the jelly. Roll the brioche very tight. Cut into six pieces. Serve with an apple and your favorite beverage. — Submitted by Loews Hotels Chefs “Fuji” Fujita and Tung Ngyuen.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This recipe and photo came by way of Jennifer Duffy, director of public relations at Loews Vantana Resort in Tucson. SushiSKool, a culinary class for kids ages 5 & up, is offered weekly at Loews Miami Beach Hotel and Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. For more information, visit

Peanut Butter Fudge

One 11½-ounce bag of milk chocolate chips
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium glass bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and milk. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir well. Microwave again for 35-45 seconds, or until the mixture is melted and smooth when stirred. Stir invanilla. Scrape mixture into a foil-lined 8 inch square pan. Refrigerate until set, 30 to 60 minutes. Cut into 25 small squares. Refrigerate leftovers. — Submitted by RAK Assistant Editor Mary L. Holden


Vegetable Pita Pizzas

2 large whole-wheat pita bread rounds
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup assorted fresh vegetables (such as small broccoli or cauliflower, red sweet pepper
strips, sliced fresh mushrooms and/or chopped carrot)
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

Place pita rounds on a baking sheet. Bake in a 400ºF oven for five minutes. Coat an unheated small nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium heat. Add the assorted vegetables; cook and stir until crisp-tender. Spread pizza sauce on pita bread rounds; sprinkle with cooked vegetables and cheese. Bake in 400ºF oven for eight to 10 minutes, or until light brown. Serve warm. — Submitted by Nora Carrillo, Healthy Steps Specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Smoothie Pops

There is nothing better than watching your children cool off with a yummy, smoothie popsicle that hides everything from spinach to carrots! Grab your blender, popsicle holders, and the following ingredients; frozen blueberries, frozen mangos, frozen pineapples, frozen spinach, a small carrot, a banana, yogurt, oats and orange juice. Have your kids take turns filling the blender with a little of this, and a little of that. Don’t overdo the spinach, carrots, or oats, just add enough to ensure a little extra nutrition. Pour in the orange juice and begin to blend. Once the ingredients are smooth, fill your popsicle holders. Place them in the freezer and before you know it you have a yummy treat that your kids will love! — Recipe and photo submitted by Susie Garlick of Phoenix, who writes the blog

Chickpea Crunch

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Pat excess water with a paper towel. Brush chickpeas with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crispy. Serve immediately. — Submitted by RAK Circulation Director Debbie Davis



Yogurt Parfait

Plain yogurt is good for teens, who probably aren’t getting enough calcium, but the taste may be kind of boring. Spruce it up with berries, sliced peaches and crunchy cereal flakes, nuts or seeds. Plain yogurt can also be used for healthy, low-fat veggie dips. — Submitted by Nora Carrillo, Healthy Steps Specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital