It takes a bit of time and focus to make the gravy, carve the turkey and ferry all the side dishes to your Thanksgiving table while they’re still hot. And if you add hangry little ones to the mix, your carefully laid holiday plans may screech to a halt.
Fortunately, prepping a few easy nibbles for kids ahead of time can help stave off a pre-dinner tantrum. To lift the mood of your young guests—and keep their bellies satisfied—try these five quick snacks designed to make your kids’ Thanksgiving extra-special. The result? A holiday where everyone’s thankful.
Nutty Cheese Ball Who doesn’t love a savory, retro cheese ball? Combine equal parts cream cheese and shredded cheddar to form an orb that’s a definite kiddie crowd-pleaser, especially when it’s covered in a crunchy coating like sliced almonds, poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds. To up the wow factor, insert thin pretzel sticks into the back part of the ball as a stand-in for feathers and add a sweet turkey face with two candy eyes and a bit of green pepper for a nose.
“Turkey Feathers” and Dip Another way to channel a turkey’s bright plumage is to arrange carrot sticks and strips of yellow and red pepper in a fan on a wide weighted silicone plate, then place a dollop of dip in the middle. Pick a spread that’s popular with your crowd, such as guacamole, hummus or a creamy option made from Greek yogurt mixed with a bit of miso paste and a clove of grated garlic.
Autumnal Granola Serve breakfast at snack time! Make a crunchy fall-themed granola by baking rolled oats with pecans, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and maple syrup. Drizzle the combination with a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil and then bake for 20 minutes at 325℉, stirring once halfway through. After it’s toasty brown (add more baking time as needed), top with dried cherries and serve it in a small cup at each place setting. Keep leftover granola in an airtight container.
Choco-Peanut Bites These chewy, nutty spheres are great for boosting energy, which means they’ll keep your kids charged up and happy all afternoon long. To make them, combine a cup and a half of rolled oats with ½ cup of peanut butter, 1/3 cup maple syrup and 1/3 cup chocolate chips. Roll the mixture into small balls and store in a glass container in the refrigerator to set.
Sweet and Crunchy Trail Mix That classic combination of good ol’ raisins and peanuts is fine, but why not revamp the standard? Try a tasty combo like this Pumpkin Seed Bar Mix (skip the hot sauce for the kids): pumpkin seeds, pretzels and sesame sticks. You could also up the fun with a sweet seasonal mix-in such as tricolor candy corn or candy pumpkins. Box this grab-and-go treat in small paper containers like the ones used for take-out, or serve it in these handy snack bowls.
Making an easy Thanksgiving snack ahead of time is a smart way to keep hungry kids satisfied. And for more Thanksgiving help, check out this great advice for how to achieve the crispiest turkey skin on your holiday bird.