We've heard many times that our bodies are meant to graze, rather than stuff ourselves with thee full meals a day. Sometimes, especially on winter weekend days spent at home, I like to put out a bunch of lighter foods or snacky stuff and let the kids graze for a while. Sometimes that means veggies with low fat dips or sliced fruit, sometimes it is not so healthy dips and sometimes it's a good mix of both.
Here's 12 ideas for a grazing lunch with the kids:
1) Cheese, sausage and crackers. It's a classic little snack that gives a boost of energy. Go with low fat cheeses if you like or fat free crackers.
2) Yogurt covered pretzels or raisins. This is something the kids love to munch on.
3) Homemade quick bread. I love making a loaf of beer bread with a side of garlic or spinach dip or a loaf of pumpkin bread.
4) Berry mix. Sometimes I throw it all in a bowl to make a fruit salad, but more often I lay out of platter so the kids can grab a handful of their favorites. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are the favorites.
5) Layered salsa dip. I could sit and eat a whole place of this stuff - spread a layer of cream cheese then top it with a layer of salsa. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and serve with tortillas. Yummo! :)
6) Layered chili dip. This is similar to the dip mentioned above, but it is served hot. Spread a layer of cream cheese followed by a can of "no bean" chili. Sprinkle with shredded cheese on top and put in the oven until cheese melts (about 15 minutes at 350.) Serve with tortilla cheese, crackers or pita chips.
7) Apple slices. This is something super simple, but if I lay out sliced apples everyone is so much more likely to eat them. Sprinkle them with a little cinnamon sugar or dip them in caramel or cool whip.
8) Stock the pantry with dip mixes from Tastefully Simple. My favorites are the garlic, spinach and buffalo bleu cheese mixes. All you have to do is add them into some sour cream and mayo and you have a quick, easy dip for veggies or chips or pretzels.
9) Make kebobs. Grab some skewers and add bite sizes of your favorite foods. Sometimes it is cheeses with meats (chunks of summer sausage or little rolls of salami or ham or turkey), sometimes it is strawberries and grapes, sometimes mozzarella cheese with basil and grape tomatoes sprinkled with olive oil.
10) Make your own snack mixes. Combine a couple different kinds of nuts. Add raisins or M & Ms. Throw in some Chex cereal and some barbecue or cajun spices and shake them together in a plastic bag with a few drops of oil.
11) Quesadillas. These are such an easy thing to make. You can simply put some cheese - shredded or sliced between two tortillas and put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to melt the cheese. Cut it in slices and add a dollop of sour cream and salsa if you would like.
12) Graham crackers topped with Nutella or peanut butter. This is a good alternative to cookies that gives you a little taste of something sweet and you can control how much of the sweet stuff goes on top.
Happy grazing in 2015