Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SKY Vacation Bible School Snacks: Healthier Ways to Snack at VBS

A year ago, I was the snack coordinator for my church's Vacation Bible School, and I took the snacks in a healthier direction.    VBS snacks tend to rely on cheap ways to give children less than wonderful snacks, which makes sense, as some churches do Vacation Bible Schools as part of their outreach and do not charge money.  I know that different companies that put out VBS curriculum are under the pressure to give ideas for cheap and easy ways to provide many children snacks.

Fortunately for me (and Children), my church has no such constraints.  Our church gives the Vacation Bible School a budget, and so we are covered for any snacks we purchase and need to buy.  This year, as snack coordinator, I once again had some money to go out and provide good food for the children.  I did use the curriculum provided by Group  but adapted them (some very heavily) in order to make it fit my idea of sensible food.  Here is what I ended up with.  I apologize in advance for poor food photography, as I was extremely under the gun to produce snacks for 75, and so sometimes taking the picture was the LAST thing on my mind.

I had wonderful helpers this year, who helped wash and cut fruit, helped assemble each snack according to my insane specifications (ever tried laying out blueberries in the shape of a heart) and happily learned all the new dishes and then went home and tried them on their families.  (I think the "cooking" lesson was the real motivation for the help.  Just kidding.)  

Sky Dive Diner - Vacation Bible School Snacks

Day 1 - Sky Surprises - Popcorn
Bible Connection: "People judge by the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16:7
Food Connection: It looks like popcorn, but when you go deeper inside your cup, you'll see something different.  

Popcorn with a surprise at the bottom of the cup.  The curriculum suggested putting various candies at the bottom of the cup.  I decided to just go with something different underneath the popcorn, going with the Party-In-Your-Mouth popcorn ingredients.    I put seaweed on the bottom of each cup, a layer of rice crackers above that, and then finally topped with popcorn.  No one could see that there was anything but popcorn but it was clear once you began eating.  Truthfully the kids were VERY surprised to find seaweed on the inside, saying things like, "Why is there seaweed in my popcorn?" but once they began eating it, no one complained.  You can put other stuff underneath the popcorn like pretzels or raisins, but I went with the rice crackers and seaweed.  Each child needs about 1 cup of popped popcorn.

Day 2 - Troubled Hearts - Rice Cake Treats
Bible Connection:  "Don't let your hearts be troubled, trust in God."  John 14:1
Food Connection: A blue heart symbolizes a troubled heart, and a red heart signifies God's amazing love, which is always there.

I decided to bring back a snack I did last year, which was the rice cake snack.  I changed things up a bit, and had my helpers make the blueberries in the shape of a heart, to talk about our troubled hearts.  The red strawberries were cut in half and looked like hearts.  The final bit of love came in the form of honey drizzled over the entire thing.   You need for each child, one rice cake, 2 tablespoons cream cheese, 1/4 cup blueberries and 1/2 a strawberry, with the green taken out.  for 75 children, in order to have extra fruit, I used 10 lbs of berries.  (8 lbs strawberries, 2 lbs blueberries.)  You can use far less fruit if you'd like, but I bought extra for the kids and it was all consumed.

Day 3 - High Flyin' Fruit Floats
Bible Connection:  "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high up on wings like eagles." - Isaiah 40:31
Food Connection: Watch the fruit floating on top, like an eagle flying on a breeze!

The original snack had ice cream floats as the snack, but as I'm not a huge lover of massive doses of sugar in children, I decided to go with a fruit based version.  I used orange juice, seltzer water, and fresh fruit.  I used 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup seltzer water, and 1/4 cup of berries.    This snack was lighter in terms of heft and bulk so I also made huge piles of the popcorn mix to serve on each table to eat with the fruit floats.  

Day 4 - Inseparable Fruit Swirl Parfaits
Bible Connection: "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love."  (Romans 8:38)
Food Connection: Layer the granola, fruit, yogurt, honey and give a quick stir.  No matter how hard you try, you cannot separate them into individual layers again.

I decided to do yogurt parfaits, and I made 3 batches of Honey Maple Granola (15 cups total.)  For 75 kids, I used almost 12 cups of the granola, 4 quarts of Fage Nonfat Yogurt, and 10 lbs of fruit, and 1 cup of honey. There was extra to go around so kids had seconds.   

Day 5 - Barbell Bites
Bible Connection: "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you where ever you go."  (Joshua 1:9)
Food Connection: Grapes and pretzels and cheese and pretzels create barbells, reminding us of how we are strong with God."

My helpers and I constructed plates of two kinds of grapes, and two kinds of cheese cubes along with a handful of pretzel sticks.  I asked everyone to make barbells out of their grapes and cheese with the pretzels.  The kids had lots of fun making this snack, but I will be honest and say that they did not eat this snack with as much as relish as the prior four days.  Interestingly enough, this is the single snack that I followed exactly as the Group curriculum outlined.  


Sandy said...

I loved your healthy snacks and I think I'm going to use the layered popcorn for my daughter's birthday party coming up as well as the fruit juice idea. Only I'm thinking I'll put craisins or something on the the bottom of the popcorn cups. I think you can only get away with rice crackers and seaweed with an asian kids only crowd. :)

Elisa said...

I am looking for ideas for this year's VBS, interesting animals, that are healthy! Are you going to be posting your ideas this year (2014)?

Joanne Choi said...

Hi Elisa -
not sure if we are doing Group VBS this year. If we are...then yes, I'd be the snack master. I think we are doing something different. So probably I won't be the place to come for the revised snack ideas.

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