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September means back-to-school time is here again.  My experience has been that after a full day at school, my kids would come home ready to eat my arm off.  Rather than have them raid the pantry or search for something that will send their blood sugar levels skyrocketing, I’ve tried to provide them with nutritional snacks that will satisfy them until dinner.


Fruits & Veggies–More Matters is the master at creating fun and nutritious recipes that kids love.  Even the names of the recipes are kid-friendly!  Bookworm Apple Bark is made with a Granny Smith apple, peanut butter, raisins and dried cranberries.  The combination of the fiber from the fruit and the protein from the peanut butter keeps your child feeling full and focused until dinner (great for completing homework!).

bookworm apple bark


Banana in A Blanket is another kid favorite and uses a ripe banana, a whole wheat tortilla, peanut butter, honey and some crunchy/nutty nugget cereal (think Grape Nuts).  If your child is allergic to peanuts you can always substitute a different nut butter for the peanut butter in these recipes.  Also, depending on the age and size of your child, you may want to cut this recipe in half since some bananas can be rather large (hint: these make a healthy snack you can share with your child!).



What kid doesn’t like pizza?  Symphony of Fruit Pizza creates mini “pizzas” using English muffins, spread with fat-free strawberry cream cheese and topped with fruit such as slice strawberries, red grapes and mandarin oranges.  The cream cheese adds protein, while the fruit provides valuable vitamins and fiber (you can further boost the fiber by using a whole grain English muffin).



For those days when your kids are bugging you for a cookie, I’ve got a healthy solution.  Apple Cookies are a sweet, but nutritious alternative that is a great compromise.  Simply take sliced apples (in circles) and spread with peanut butter.  Top with granola and a few chocolate chips, flaked coconut, crushed pretzels or raisins–your choice.

Photo courtesy of Almost Supermom


Have fun with these after school snack ideas and I’ll return next week with a new twist on Take-Out.


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By the end of August, your vegetable garden output has slowed down considerably with one or two exceptions.  Tomatoes are one of those crops that continue to provide us with beautiful fruits of summer, typically through most of September in many parts of the country.  And, if you’ve had a homegrown tomato right off the vine, you know there’s nothing quite like it.  Aside from their wonderful flavor, there’s also health benefits–one medium tomato is a great source of Vitamins C and A, potassium, fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium and low in calories.


Taking advantage of fresh tomatoes can be done in many ways–from making homemade tomato sauce, to adding them to your nightly green salad.  I’ve pulled together a few recipes that really highlight their sweet flavor, which I think you’ll enjoy right now while they are at their peak.  I’ll start with something simple, but it’s a salad that really reminds me of a side dish my mom used to make with tomatoes from my dad’s garden.  Tomato and Sweet Onion Salad uses few ingredients–tomatoes, onion, fresh mint leaves, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.  This is easy enough to prepare for a weeknight side dish or beautiful enough to bring along to a picnic or cookout.

tomato salad
Photo courtesy of Jason Varney


Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes are another simple, yet incredibly delicious recipe.  The wonderful thing about using tomatoes when they are in season and fresh off the vine is they are so flavorful.  This recipe calls for minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped herbs like basil, thyme or oregano, a bit of sugar, and salt/pepper to taste.

Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes
Photo courtesy of Five Heart Home


Tomato, Peach and Burrata Salad combines two summer favorites in one incredible salad.  Only five ingredients come together–tomatoes, peaches, Burrata cheese (it’s an Italian cheese), balsamic vinegar and basil.  It once again proves that when using fresh, in-season produce, you need very few ingredients to make your dish delicious!

Photo courtesy of Two Peas & Their Pod


If you need more ideas for using fresh tomatoes, Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has their Top 10 Ways to enjoy tomatoes.  Think Gazpacho, stuffed tomatoes, and a healthy tomato vinaigrette!  Enjoy and I’ll be back next week with some after school snack ideas your kids will love.


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