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#623985 - Tue May 10 2011 07:47 PM Snack ideas
agony Offline

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As many of you know, my job is as a cook at a daycare centre. One of my duties is to design a six week rotating menu. I'm very happy with the menu I've got right now, except for two of the afternoon snacks. They fit the bill from my point of view - the problem is that the kids don't like them very much. I try to only serve foods that at least half of the kids will eat.

I've been wracking my brains for new ideas for those days, but haven't come up with anything that meets all of the fairly strict criteria. So, here I am, asking for suggestions.

The first problem snack is Ants on a Log. This is celery segments, which the kids fill with cheese spread, and put raisins on (the ants). They can choose to eat whichever part of this snack they want - just celery if they like, for example, or just raisins.

In order to replace this, a snack would have to have some kind of raw vegetable as an important part. However, it can't just BE vegetables - we already have raw veggies and dip as a snack a couple times, and as part of several lunches. It needs to be something I can make up and leave in the fridge for the kids to finish assembly themselves - I've gone home by afternoon snack time. It must be fairly inexpensive, and conducive to the children serving themselves. I'll have less than an hour to do the prep for enough for about thirty kids.

The second problem snack is tuna salad on crackers. The kids will eat the crackers, but nobody will touch the tuna. This is a little strange, as they love tuna casserole, but there it is.

To replace this, a snack would have to be high in protein. It can't be cheese based - we already serve an awful lot of cheese. I already serve hard boiled eggs, so that won't work. I also already serve hummus. We can't use peanut products in the building, as we are in a school. We also can't use preserved meats such as cold cuts, as I'm only allowed to serve those a limited amount of times during the six weeks. It must be, again, inexpensive, able to be prepared in advance, and, in this case, suitable for all ages of children, including babies.

Any ideas would be very appreciated. Thanks.

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#624273 - Wed May 11 2011 03:44 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
guitargoddess Offline
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Posts: 37013
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
Ooh tough..

Maybe something like this, minus the peanut butter? Are bananas high in protein?

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Merricks-PBJ-n-Banana-Burritos/Detail.aspx

This says it's high protein: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Protein-Cookies/Detail.aspx
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#624329 - Wed May 11 2011 08:58 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: guitargoddess]
veronikkamarrz Offline
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WoW, GG! The Pumpkin Cookies sound like the perfect thing. The Bananna Burritos should be just wonderful even without the PNut Butter.

I LOVE All Recipes! smile
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#624336 - Wed May 11 2011 10:16 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: veronikkamarrz]
agony Offline

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The banana burritos sound promising - I might be able to go somewhere with those. Actually, just some version of a regular burrito might be good - I wonder if beans and shredded lettuce and salsa would work....

I forgot to mention that these snacks shouldn't be baked goods - I've already got some baked goods in that week. I'm going to save that Pumpkin cookie recipe, though, because it could be used on our cookie day.

Thanks, this is a good start.

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#624715 - Thu May 12 2011 11:48 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
Jakeroo Offline
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I'm a great-aunt 14 times over and counting (some of them are now having babies of their own lol). Most of them will eat pretty much anything in a "wrap". They'll even eat the "whole wheat" versions of them. Chicken quesadillas are one of their faves (and no, I don't put cheese in them). Add whatever julienned raw veggies you want (zucchini, onions, carrots, sprouts, lettuce etc) or cooked beans/chickpeas (protein/fiber). They can certainly put them together themselves. If you don't want to let them do that, roll up a whole bunch jelly roll style and slice them into snack sized pieces. Serve with simple salsa (tomatoes provide lycopene) with corn (folate). Maybe some cilantro and hot sauce on the side for those who'll go for it (kids seem to like foods "zestier" than when I was one LOL)

As an alternative to hard boiled eggs, I suppose you could do "denver" sandwiches, cut on the diagonal in 4 pieces. If you have Muslims in the group, you can omit the ham and cook/serve on separate pans/plates. Or scrambled eggs/peppers etc served in quartered pita bread.

Maybe small portions of low fat cottage cheese on a bed of lettuce. Provide 3 or 4 bowls of sliced fruit and kids can choose which ones they want to put on top.

Or banana "pinwheels" (another "wrap" thing)

Or make your own version of trail mix (pretty easy to put a big tub of the stuff together in a hurry). Banana chips, dried apples, raisins and bulk cereals are really quite inexpensive these days, adding non-buttered popcorn to it is fairly cheap as well. If you're allowed a few nuts (other than peanuts) you will be adding magnesium zinc and iron to the mix.

Maybe mini whole-wheat blueberry or strawberry pancakes/waffles? Not sure how MANY kids you have to cook for...
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#625158 - Sat May 14 2011 06:51 AM Re: Snack ideas [Re: Jakeroo]
agony Offline

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Loc: Western Canada
Thanks for those, Jake - I'm definitely getting some burrito/wrap ideas from the suggestions. Lots of your other suggestions are already on our menu!

Introducing variety into the menus is a big problem - so many of these kids eat from such a limited palette at home. Exotic items such as baked beans, shepherd's pie, quiche, kiwifruit, needed to be introduced with care. We have a "new food" snack once a month for the older kids, and some of the things I've served are blackberries, grapefruit, mango, blood oranges, avocado - all of which were complete mysteries to the vast majority of the kids. I'm pretty sure they live on chicken fingers and bananas at home.

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#625203 - Sat May 14 2011 08:35 AM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
lesley153 Offline
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Registered: Fri Sep 07 2007
Posts: 731
Loc: Bedford England UK           
Originally Posted By: agony
As many of you know, my job is as a cook at a daycare centre.
Yes, I think I remember your distress at finding that the previous incumbent couldn't cook.

I idly googled snacks for children and found an educational site running a "healthy snack" contest.

Half the entries included peanut butter and bananas, a lot of them called for cheese, or salami rolled round pickles. One suggested smoked salmon and cream cheese. Nice! Some otherwise promising ones needed microwaving. One boy said that his favourite snack was a carrot sandwich - bread, mayonnaise, shredded carrot and pepper. How long would it take to grate enough carrot for thirty children?

Here were a couple I thought were promising, no meat, no heat, and easy to assemble.

From Iran:
Have some small flour tortilla, spread with cream cheese and put green grapes into it before it is rolled.

From Australia: "spider sandwich".
Spread butter on two dry biscuits, and spread vegemite on one side. You then put alfalfa shoots on top. The other biscuit is placed on top. This way the "spider's legs" hang over the edge.

Of course cream cheese may count towards the cheese quota, the children might not appreciate the Vegemite, the idea of eating spiders might amuse them but alfalfa sprouts may be hard to come by or store, or for little fingers to untangle. Hard, isn't it? frown
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#625207 - Sat May 14 2011 08:38 AM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
guitargoddess Offline
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Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
Good for you for introducing them to new foods when young, though! Otherwise they'll end up like my brother, 20 years old and won't eat much of anything that's not pizza, bacon or PB&J... I'm sure if he has a wife cooking for him someday she will hate my parents for not turning him into a better eater.
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#625242 - Sat May 14 2011 09:17 AM Re: Snack ideas [Re: guitargoddess]
agony Offline

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Posts: 12663
Loc: Western Canada
The ban on peanut butter is a real problem for everyone providing meal programs for children - it's popular, cheap, and high in protein, and would be a very useful addition to my larder.

I find a real disconnect when looking for recipes. On the one hand, you get the recipes that would meet any nutritional standards, but which my rural Alberta kids just will not eat - lentil curry soup with a spinach glaze, that kind of thing. Then there are the more realistic suggestions which the kids will probably eat, but which are high in fat or sodium or sugar - the salami and pickles you mention, for example.

Personally, I try to strike something of a balance. If a handful of chocolate chips in the batter for a double batch of whole wheat banana oatmeal muffins means the kids will try them, I'm willing to be a little less pure. A little low fat ranch dressing or the odd teaspoon of cinnamon sugar has helped a whole lot of raw fresh fruit and vegetables go down, so I'm OK with them.

Yesterday we had whole wheat carrot muffins in the morning. Homemade (from saved bones) chicken noodle soup with carrots, celery, peas and potatoes in it, whole wheat buns, and broccoli with ranch dip for lunch. Afternoon snack was an invention of my own. Apples and bananas are cut up, and the kids each get a plate with a dollop of yogurt, and their choice of a selection of graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut, and maybe oreo crumbs or crushed honey nut cheerios or some other cereal just slightly tastier than the kind they are usually allowed. They dip the fruit in the yogurt, and then dip it in the crumbs. Wildly popular - it's astonishing how much fruit they will eat this way. Not as "pure" as a plate of sliced fruit, but since they also get that a couple of times in the week, I'm not too bothered.

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#625262 - Sat May 14 2011 10:29 AM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
Tizzabelle Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2500
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
I'll keep looking for some ideas but this is the first one that might be appropriate. I'd replace the kecap manis for something less intimidating for children. A ranch dressing might work or something like an Italian or French dressing. In my experience every child loves instant noodles! wink

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/16007/chicken+carrot+instant+noodle+salad
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#625268 - Sat May 14 2011 11:14 AM Re: Snack ideas [Re: Tizzabelle]
agony Offline

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Loc: Western Canada
Maybe just a basic soy sauce, though ranch would probably be healthier. The nice thing about this is that it would be cheap enough to try - not a big outlay of cash or effort if they don't like it.

Chow mien is one of the most popular dishes, so I can see this going over very well.

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#625488 - Sat May 14 2011 07:47 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
guitargoddess Offline
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Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 37013
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
How about yogurt parfaits? You could put out cups of yogurt, some berries and granola and let the kids build their own (or just eat the yogurt plain if they want).

Or maybe egg salad and/or chicken salad stuffed inside mini pitas?
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#636111 - Wed Jun 22 2011 10:18 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: guitargoddess]
agony Offline

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Tizzabelle, tried the noodle salad on Tuesday. It went over quite well - nearly everyone tried it, most of those finished their bowls, and a few kids took seconds. I just used soy sauce as the dressing, with shredded carrot and cucumber. So that one is enough of a success to try again. Thank you.

Now for burritos in two weeks - we'll see how they go over...

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#643781 - Thu Jul 28 2011 09:39 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
Jakeroo Offline
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How have things been going lately, agony? Do you have fewer (or more, or the same amount) of kids to cook for during the summer?
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#643784 - Thu Jul 28 2011 09:54 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: Jakeroo]
agony Offline

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Loc: Western Canada
We've got a large school age program this summer, so I am crazy busy. Right now fifteen extra 6 - 12 year olds, and next month it will be up to 25. They eat like horses! Luckily this is a great bunch of kids, so I'm not getting too much "Oh, that's yucky I won't eat that" from them - they are willing to try almost anything I give them. We had to step on them pretty hard at the beginning of the summer as their table manners for us were appalling, with lots of snatch and grab, fighting over food, etc. They've settled right down, now, and it's mostly "Please pass the buns" rather than crawling on the table to reach them. I'm making pizza tomorrow, which everyone loves - they can help me make the dough first thing in the morning.

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#643888 - Fri Jul 29 2011 12:50 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
Jakeroo Offline
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Registered: Sat Aug 30 2008
Posts: 2063
Loc: Alberta Canada
Oh my. Sorry to hear you have MORE kids, but good to hear they're learning some manners. I was worried that with all the rain, the kids would be getting "cabin fever" by now and might be unmanageable! lol. Hang in there : )
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#643919 - Fri Jul 29 2011 05:26 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: Jakeroo]
Tizzabelle Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2500
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
Agony, I'm glad that noodle salad worked out well. Every child I've ever had anything to do with loves noodles! That recipe is so versatile.. change the dressing, change the meat to ham or roast beef, change the veges around, whatever takes your fancy and is in budget that week smile
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#643925 - Fri Jul 29 2011 06:23 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: Tizzabelle]
agony Offline

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Loc: Western Canada
Great success with pizza today - an autistic child who hardly eats anything had seven pieces!

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#643936 - Fri Jul 29 2011 09:30 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
veronikkamarrz Offline
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Registered: Thu Dec 28 2006
Posts: 924
Loc: Carson City
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Everything sounds fantastic, however...SEVEN pieces of pizza does NOT sound like an acceptable amount of food for one child. How old are these kids?

Nope, I really think that anything over three pieces is just too much...No matter the age or size.

I'm happy to hear the kids are eating, but we must have limits.
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#644029 - Sat Jul 30 2011 10:03 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: veronikkamarrz]
agony Offline

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Loc: Western Canada
Oh, they are pretty small pieces....

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#644146 - Sun Jul 31 2011 11:49 AM Re: Snack ideas [Re: agony]
Rowena8482 Offline
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You'd have been appalled by one student I found during my dissertation Veronikka. I did a survey into the diet and smoking habits of students on campus and got one who had eaten 23 pieces of pizza and nothing at all else in the previous 48 hours. I checked up too, he'd been asked to leave an all you can eat buffet because he cleaned them out of pizza! :-|
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#644164 - Sun Jul 31 2011 01:59 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: Rowena8482]
flopsymopsy Offline
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I know someone who only eats tinned spaghetti hoops followed by tinned rice. He's in his mid-twenties. They call it food phobia these days, my mother used to call it "eat that or you'll get a clip round the ear". wink
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#644176 - Sun Jul 31 2011 03:21 PM Re: Snack ideas [Re: flopsymopsy]
agony Offline

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 12663
Loc: Western Canada
Autistic kids have all kinds of food problems, as texture, especially, is very important to them, as is routine - changes can be extremely difficult. Getting something as nutritious as my whole wheat crust pizza into this kid was a spectacular achievement - he normally only eats one certain brand of cookies, frozen waffles, and plain soda crackers. That's it. Drinks only apple juice. Over the course of this summer so far, he's eaten whole wheat toast, grilled cheese, and whole wheat pancakes, along with the pizza, and will take one small sip of milk most days. We're very proud.

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