School is back in session and that means it’s time to have healthy snacks on hand. Figuring out what to feed your children when they get home, or between after school activities, doesn’t have to be complicated. That’s part of the fun. It’s all about having a few items stocked in your kitchen that you, or your kids, can quickly put together for a healthy snack.
Cookies, chips, snack cakes, and sodas are convenient, tasty, and have their place in the snack world, but they’re best kept as the occasional go to. Out of sight (out of the house) out of mind is a great strategy for these items, yes, even when your kids tell you they won’t eat anything else. Most of the time, they’ll eat whatever is available so having healthy items available is a great approach.
Try these three steps and ten ingredients for a variety of after school snack ideas.
Step 1: Create a list
Write down a list of ten healthy ingredients that your kids will eat. Even if it’s an item they don’t love, snacks are a perfect opportunity to try something new, or try something old in a new way. Mostly, I’m referring to vegetables, which always seem to be a struggle to get kids to eat. Even better, get everyone involved in creating the list. It’s more fun when you play a role in the decision-making.
Step 2: Go Grocery Shopping
If your list keeps you along the perimeter of the store then there is no need to make changes. However, if you find yourself zooming in and out of the middle isles, you might want to go back to step one and cut back on the processed items that keep you in the middle aisles. Some processed items that are lower in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), sugar, and sodium get a pass and can be on the list.
Step 3: Get Creative and Start Snacking
You now have healthy snack building blocks and it’s time to start thinking of all the delicious healthy snacks you can make with only 10 ingredients. Here are some ideas.
10 Ingredients for Healthy After School Snacks
- Non-fat plain yogurt (or Non-fat plain Greek yogurt)
- Peanut Butter
- Fruit (variety of fresh, frozen or dried)
- Vegetables (variety)
- Nuts (variety, preferably unsalted/flavored)
- Pita chips
- Yogurt parfait
- DIY trail mix
- DIY dried Fruit – Slice and bake at 200F for 2-3 hours
- Banana Chips
- Apple Chips
- Frozen grapes
- Cinnamon tortilla chips
- Apples with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon
- Veggie Quesadillas
- Apple with melted cheese
- Fresh veggies and tzatziki dip
- Hummus and/or veggies pita chips
- Spiced nuts
- Mozzarella cheese and grape tomato pretzel kabobs
For younger kids
Snack time is the perfect time to start engaging them in the kitchen. Allow them to be creative and come up with their own snack ideas. Engage them in food prep and food safety by teaching them to wash fruits and veggies before eating them.
When teens are hungry, they want food right away. The items in your kitchen will help them make healthy choices. Use snack time to help practice portion control with your teenager, in addition to food prep and food safety.
Snacking in between meals is a healthy habit that can help curb your appetite so you’re less likely to overeat during your next meal. There are so many snack ideas available online. My suggestion is to start with your list, get your kids and teens involved in planning snack ideas, and then enjoy. Happy snacking!