Smarter Snacks For Better Playdates

by Aparna Ayyar

So your little one’s been invited to a playdate? Playdates are usually great fun for the children. If your 'mommy group' is as active as mine, group playdates may be quite common. There’s no happier sight than to see a bunch of kids playing, squealing, running and tumbling over each other.

When invited for a playdate, it’s polite to offer to bring along kid-friendly snacks. Whether it’s at someone’s house or in a park, yummy snacks always help prevent meltdowns. If your group already has a defined protocol, follow that. My group generally assigns rotational snack duty and even tells mothers what to get (yes, it’s hyper-organized). Some people like to do an informal potluck type thing where each mom brings a different kind of snack.

Whatever the arrangement, rustling up kid-friendly snacks that are healthy and pretty to look at can be quite a task. If you’re as pressed for time as I am, try these quick and easy to make irresistible snacks that get even the pickiest child excited.

1. Apple Peanut Butter Sandwiches: These unusual sandwiches make the perfect snack. Smother peanut butter on juicy apple slices. Sprinkle some shredded coconut, walnuts and chocolate chips. You can eat them as slices or as sandwiches and what’s more they’re so pretty to look at.
Tip: Wrap these individually in cling wrap for better portability (to be able to carry it to the playdate)

2. Lunch Meat & Cheese Roll Up: You can rustle up this supremely easy snack in a matter of minutes. Use any luncheon meat such as salami or pastrami. Lay it flat on a surface and spread a generous dollop of cream cheese. Roll and secure it with a pretzel stick.
Tip: The luncheon meat stays well for about an hour or two. So if your playdate is going to last longer than that, find a way to refrigerate the rolls.

3. Sweet & Salty Snack Mix: This doesn’t even warrant being called a recipe because all it needs for you to do is assemble sweet and salty flavors. It’s as simple as opening jars and packets and emptying them in a large bowl. The trick is to choose ingredients that have complimentary flavors. We recommend pretzel sticks, cashews, raisins, mini chocolate chips, toasted cheerios and cherries. Toss them all together in a large bowl. Make individual packets of the mix for each child. These are really popular and kids can’t get enough. So generous portions are recommended.

4. Graham Cracker & Cream Cheese Sandwiches: Crackers and cheese can make anyone happy. And chopped fruit just adds to the deliciousness of flavor and texture. Again, as is the case with all the other recipes, you don’t need much culinary skill here. Spread 1/2 tablespoon cream cheese on each cracker square. Top half the squares with pear slices or halved strawberries. Close sandwiches with remaining squares.
Tip: Wrap individually in cling wrap for better portability. You could also serve the crackers, cheese and fruit separately. If you choose to do that, carry the chopped fruit and cream cheese in large mouthed containers. So you can just open and place them on a table. No messy transferring from containers to bowls or plates.

5. Apple Cinnamon Chips: Although time consuming, these sweet chips are totally worth the effort. Remove the core of the apple and thinly slice the entire apple. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place apple slices on it. Brush each slice with unsalted butter and sprinkle cinnamon. Bake at 275 degrees for two hours. At the end of an hour, flip them over so they bake evenly. Be prepared to serve these and have them disappear within seconds.

6. Grilled Cheese Bites: Can you really go wrong with melty cheese? I use regular cheese slices. But any kind of cheese works fine. Using a rolling pin, roll slices of whole wheat bread flat. Place one slice of cheese 3 tablespoons grated cheddar. Roll up the bread and cheese. Brush the outside with melted butter and place in a pan over medium heat. Turn with tongs until all sides are browned and cheese is melted.

7. Egg Snowmen: I have to admit; this is a bit of a con job. But this visual trick works well to make even boring boiled eggs seem like a fun snack. All you need is hard boiled eggs, carrot and pepper corns. Stick a BBQ skewer through two boiled eggs to form the head and body of the snowman. Use peppercorns for eyes and buttons. Cut out small pieces of carrot for the nose and a round piece for the hat. Kids just love the way these egg snow men look (you can totally use this trick for breakfast regularly).

8. Mango Yogurt With Blueberries: This recipe will give you the easiest and the creamiest yogurt that’s delightfully refreshing. All you need is two ingredients—greek yogurt and mango pulp. Using a food processor, combine the two ingredients till it’s a gorgeous creamy mix. Add some blueberries to it and refrigerate in individual cups.

Serving a variety of fun and interesting foods at playdates can help children develop their palate.

Image: Shutterstock

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