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No matter how hearty the school lunches you may have packed for your children, chances are that by the time the last afternoon bell rings and they finally make it home after a long day, they’re ready for a snack. But while your kids may be hungry at 4pm and need something quick to fill their tummies, you don’t want this in-between meal to spoil their appetites for dinner, which is why it’s important to reach for snacks that are easy to prepare in the midst of supper prep and homework, and just filling enough to satiate them for a few hours. Check out Food Network’s top-five after-school snack solutions below for go-to picks from some of your favorite chefs.
5. Fruit Leather Roll-Ups — Just like the store-bought roll-ups in color and taste but made with far fewer ingredients, these easy-to-make bites boast a base of real fruit puree. You get to decide which fruits to use, so pick flavors you know your children enjoy, like grape, peach, apple or strawberry.
4. Galaxy Fruit Pops — Entice your little ones to eat fruit by using cookie cutters to shape watermelon and pineapple into their favorite shapes, like circles or stars. For older kids, follow Marcela’s lead and dust the juicy slices with chili powder for an unexpected hint of heat and taste.
3. Popcorn with Parmesan and Pecorino — Add a layer of cheesy decadence to Giada’s stove-popped popcorn by drizzling the snack with melted butter, then showering it with nutty Parmesan and rich pecorino while still hot.
2. Hummus for Real — Thanks to a quick whirl in the food processor, Alton’s 15-minute dip boasts a creamy texture and is best served alongside crunchy pita chips, pretzels or your child’s preferred veggies.
1. Homemade Granola Bars — Sweet and chewy, Ina’s better-than-boxed granola bars (pictured above) are studded with shredded coconut and sliced almonds, plus a trio of dried fruit. It’s best to let these bars cool for a few hours before slicing and serving them to ensure they keep their shape. Click the play button on the video below to watch Ina make them.