Following an afternoon of learning and activity, it’s not surprising that your kids probably walk through the door and say “I’m hungry!” If you don’t eat your evening meal shortly after your children arrive back from school, youngsters need something to keep them going till dinnertime. So, what do your kids snack on when they come home from school? If they usually reach for the cookie jar and groan when you offer them fruits or vegetables to keep them going, try these ten ideas for healthy after school snacks. Each snack idea packs a nutritional punch, but is still appealing to tots and teens.
Fruit or yogurt might seem a bit boring on its own, but what if you combine them? Serve slices of fruit, such as apple, pear, melon, pineapple or mango, or berries to dip into a small pot of natural or Greek yogurt. These unsweetened yogurts are lower in sugar than most of the fruit yogurts that are commercially available. If your kids turn their nose up at plain yogurt, you can add a few drops of vanilla extract to liven it up. Alternatively, you can make a healthy yet delicious chocolate dip for fruit by blending chickpeas, cocoa powder and a little orange juice.
Veggies and Dippin’
Breadsticks lend themselves well for dipping, but they aren’t anything like as rich in vitamins and minerals as vegetable sticks. Chop up carrot, cucumber, pepper and celery into strips and dunk into salsa, cream cheese, hummus or guacamole. You can even use florets of broccoli and cauliflower, or spring onions, for dipping. My family loves Wholly Guacamole from their classic trays to mini spreads, the hand-scooped flavor of 100% Hass avocados comes through in every bite. You can find Wholly Guacamole on Amazon!
Fruity skewers and coulis
All you need do is chop up a selection of fruits, provide your kids with some skewers and a bowl of fruit coulis for drizzling. Simple! Store-bought coulis is more convenient, but is sometimes loaded with added sugars, so try making your own coulis by blending soft fruits to make a thin purée.
Snacks don’t come much easier than peeling a banana and wrapping it in foil before freezing. Your children can then enjoy an ice lolly without you worrying about the sugars and artificial additives in frozen lollies that you can buy from the store.
Still on the theme of frozen fruit, you can blend your little ones’ favorite fruits and freeze in lolly moulds. While single fruits work well, try adding two or more fruit pureés for extra fruity flavor. Good combinations include apple and blackcurrant, raspberry and blueberry, and pineapple and papaya.
Cereal and berries
Although your youngsters won’t need a breakfast-sized portion of cereal, pair a single Weetabix with a sprinkling of berries for a snack that will fill them up till dinner is on the table.
Chocolate energy balls
These chocolate bites are ideal if your kids want chocolate after school. By blending cocoa with fresh dates, rolled oats, seeds and nut butter, your little ones get a chocolate hit, but every bite is loaded with micronutrients. The slow release carbs will also keep their energy levels up.
Corn on the cob
If you want to encourage your children to eat more vegetables, sweet corn cobs are prefect. The natural sweetness of corn cobs appeals to sweet-toothed kids and the kernels are a great source of antioxidants and vitamins.
Pitas for dipping
Toasted and cut into strips, mini pitas are another good option for dipping. Choose wholemeal pitas for extra fiber that will keep hunger at bay for longer.
Another possibility for a savory afternoon snack is a couple of oatcakes with a thin spread of peanut butter. Choose peanut butter without added sugar and salt, as while these jars have a shorter shelf life, the contents will disappear in no time and you avoid unnecessary additives. For an extra nutritional boost, top with slices of banana or strawberry.
These ten after school snacks will hopefully give you the inspiration you need to offer a greater variety of healthy bites when your kids return home in the afternoon. As long as you control the portions you offer, these healthy snacks shouldn’t spoil your children’s appetite for dinner.
What’s your favorite afternoon snack for your kids? Comment below and share with us!