Wow, these kids really keep me moving! I’m back to school and teaching three cooking classes a week. No sooner did we finish Dessert Smoothies, than we jumped into Twice Baked Potatoes. These potatoes are super kid-friendly, easy to make and really versatile (Hosting a tailgating party? Check. Hosting your new vegetarian neighbors? Check. Hosting the entire soccer team after a big win? Check). Filled with broccoli and cheddar cheese, they are also a whole meal stuffed into a potato skin. Did I mention they are a great after-school snack?
My kids often come home from school quite hungry. Their first impulse is to grab a bag of chips, cookies or Gatorade. Sadly these things just make them more tired and irritable. I have been working hard to teach them about making good food choices and why certain foods are better than others. This is the time when kids need a good boost of energy to get them through the rest of their day. Here is a list of the types of foods that are especially nourishing to our bodies and some healthy snack ideas (my kids helped me to make this top 20 list):
- A large glass of water. Dehydration can make kids feel tired and sluggish. More often than not they are not drinking enough water during school hours. Try adding some fresh mint, a few cubes of watermelon, or orange quarts to the water to give it great flavor without any sugar.
- Complex carbohydrates. Whole grain foods provide long lasting, consistent energy.
- Nuts. These little babies offer lots of heart healthy fats, are high in fiber and are a great source of energy.
- Protein. All the cells in our bodies need protein. They build, maintain and repair all the tissues in our bodies. Muscles, organs, and our immune system are all made up of protein.
- Fruits and Vegetables. They are filled with necessary vitamins and nutrients. They are also a powerful source of anti-oxidants.
Top 20 Healthy After-school Snacks:
- Hummus or white bean dip, carrot sticks, and whole grain pita chips
- Guacamole with lentil or rice chips or whole grain quesadillas
- Edamame with sea salt
- Fruit kabobs with cinnamon yogurt dipping sauce
- Whole grain toast with almond butter and banana
- Sliced apple and peanut butter
- Gorp or trail mix
- Homemade fruit smoothies
- Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
- Vegetable fried brown rice (with extra eggs!)
- Rice cakes with cream cheese and cucumbers
- Whole grain toast with smashed avocado, lemon juice and salt
- Oatmeal with bananas and maple syrup
- Pizza crackers
- Kale chips
- Homemade granola bars
- Turkey pinwheels
- Pumpkin pancakes
- Tuna melts
- TWICED BAKED POTATOES!
4 medium Idaho potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup milk
⅔ cup cheddar cheese (⅓ goes into the potato mixture and ⅓ is used to top each potato)
1 small crown of broccoli, trimmed to florets, well steamed (about 8-10 minutes) and finely chopped
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash potatoes, prick several times with a fork and rub with olive oil. Place directly on the oven rack and cook 45-60 minutes. When done they will pierce with a knife without resistance. They should be firm (not wrinkly) and lightly golden brown from the oil.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Allow them to cool a bit and them slice potatoes in half length-wise. Scoop the potato flesh into a medium sized bowl, leaving about ⅛ inch of potato still inside the skin to help maintain the shape.
Into the bowl with the scooped out potato add the butter, milk, cheese, finely chopped broccoli, and salt. Mix well.
Lay the skins out on a baking sheet (you should have 8 skins). Take a nice scoop of the potato mixture and load up each skin. You should have enough filling to really “stuff” these. Once they are all stuffed, add a bit of reserved cheese to the top of each skin.
Return the skins to the oven for 5-7 minutes. They should be hot throughout and the cheese on top should be melted.