At a loss for healthy after school snacks? Have a few of these kid-approved snacks ready ready to go for after school nutrition. They are healthy, low in sugar, and made with clean and wholesome ingredients.
Y’all know I’m a big advocate for clean-eating. I base my recipes on good-for-you foods with nutritional ingredients and happily stand behind the dishes I make as nourishing and healthy.
So it only goes to say that I’ll use the same philosophy when it comes to healthy after school snacks.
I’ve compiled a great list of snacks that will satisfy your energetic brood after a long day at school. Cuz little ones love to nibble, and these nutritious tidbits and bites are just what hungry kiddos like.
WHY MAKE HEALTHY AFTER SCHOOL SNACKS?
I find that after school snacks are a great way to sneak in a few extra veggies or a serving of protein that kids may be lacking.
And why not? They run in the door after a busy day, anxious to tell you what took place. It’s the perfect time to have them munch away on tasty snacks, all the while giving them a nutritional boost.
- Give your kids a healthy after school snack and prevent them from heading to the kitchen on their own before dinner
- A snack can give your kids an energy boost after a busy school day
- A healthy treat gives their brain fuel for homework
- Structured meals and snacks are better than day-long grazing
- Kids with sports activities will power through after a healthy snack
WHAT IS THE HEALTHIEST SNACK YOU CAN EAT?
I think munching on high-protein snacks is the way to go. In fact, I’ve got a list of my fave go-to high protein snacks that I draw from for the kids, too. Some of the items on my list are:
- Nut butter (for the kids, spread homemade peanut butter on a banana!)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Pumpkin seeds
- Full-fat Greek yogurt topped with fruit
HOW TO REPLACE BAD SNACKS WITH HEALTHY ONES
It’s easy to fall back on store-bought stuff. The problem is that treats off the shelf may be full of hidden sugars, additives, and other fillers that just don’t make the snack nutritious at all.
If you are looking to give your kids trail mix, for example, switch out the packaged mix bought off the grocery shelf and make your own. Use dark chocolate morsels (yes, chocolate is good for you!), raw almonds, and dried fruit without added sugar and preservatives.
Other ways to replace bad snacks with healthy ones:
- Rather than giving the kids sweetened yogurt, dish up a bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt topped with a little bit of raw honey or pure maple syrup and some fruit.
- Instead of packaged pretzels, make your own homemade pretzels (I’ve got a tasty recipe for Homemade Sweet Potato Soft Pretzel Bites).
- Grocery aisle ice cream that offers no nutrition can be swapped for homemade ice cream.
- Don’t stop for a serving of fast-food fries; make a batch of Sweet Potato Fries instead.
- Are the kids craving crunch? Roast some chickpeas.
- Swap refined carbs (like white bread, white rice, and pastries) with whole-grain bread, nuts, and fruit.
- Avoid trans-fats, instead choose foods with healthy fat such as nuts.
TIPS TO GET KIDS TO ENJOY HEALTHY FOOD
Everyone can use a few tips and tricks to get their kids to enjoy healthy food. Right off the bat, the first thing that comes to mind for me is to set a good example. If your kids see you enjoying healthy food at every meal and at snack time, they are more likely to be happy to do the same.
- Don’t keep unhealthy food in the pantry and fridge. Save the super sweet stuff for occasions when you are out for a celebration, on holiday, or on a family outing.
- Start your kids off right when they are little. Get their palates used to foods without tons of extra sugar and salt.
- Bring the kiddos shopping, involving them in the choice of healthy after school go-to’s.
- Let your children help with snack prep.
- Encourage healthy eating with veggies, fruits, and fun dips.
- Have a tray of fresh veggies washed and cut up in the fridge for carte blanche enjoyment.
- Have meals together to set an example for eating healthy.
- Eating together helps you to monitor your child’s eating habits.
- If you have a picky eater, offer only one new food at a time.
- Pair new foods along with favorite foods, such as a must-try veggie with a favorite dip.
TOP 12 HEALTHY AFTER-SCHOOL SNACKS
Have you got famished kids who’ve just got to eat the minute they get in the door from school? Prep these yummy treats, sure to make even the finickiest eater happy!
1. CINNAMON APPLES
Kids love apples, and they love healthy cinnamon apples even more! Give your kiddos a boost of fiber and vitamin C.
2. VEGGIES AND DIP
My kids love a platter of carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes. They especially love it when I pair it with homemade hummus. Whether it’s beet hummus, avocado hummus, or sweet potato hummus, when paired with a dip, veggies are quickly eaten!
3. HOMEMADE BARS
Picture this: a tray of granola bars with healthy pepitas, dates, nuts, and raw honey! Granola bars are sure to please—and your kids will get lots of fiber and protein at the same time. Other fun bars kids love are the flaxseed apricot bar and the protein bar.
I’m talking about homemade pretzels, of course. My kids adore my sweet potato soft pretzel bites (so much so that I make double batches!), and I’m happy they do. The veggies add vitamin A to the snack.
Whip up a batch of smoothies, and your kiddos will be happy campers. You can make them ahead and the gang can choose whatever flavor they’re in the mood for. Looking for a banana-free recipe? Try one here.
What child doesn’t get excited when you tell them snack time involves pudding? Make a few jars of chia pudding the night before, and then after school, it’s an instant healthy snack! Chia seeds have a ton of benefits, too!
Whether it’s homemade fruit roll-ups or beef jerky, kids love a flavorful and chewy snack. If you are hoping to add a boost of protein (my usual aim when making snacks!), go for the beef jerky.
8. ENERGY BALLS AND BITES
When the sun and fresh air are calling, the kids may not want to sit still for too long. Let them grab a few energy balls and head outside to enjoy the day. Add peanut butter for extra protein.
9. MUFFINS AND SQUARES
You can add a lot of goodness to a muffin. Kids can’t resist when there are dark chocolate morsels involved! Blueberry muffins are a hit, too. In the mood for squares? Try my 9-Ingredient Healthy Dark Chocolate Brownies.
You can make your gang a colorful serving of fruit salad and top a bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt with the fruit. Another fruity option kids go for is fruit sorbet. Bright in color and full of flavor, sorbet is one of my kids’ favorite warm weather snacks.
Nothing beats cookies and a glass of milk, whether it’s dairy or plant-based. I’ve got a great way to sneak a protein serving into cookies, using protein powder. Not only are the cookies delish, but they have plenty of protein. The Chia Seed Lemon Paleo Cookie has 8 grams of protein.
Sometimes it’s fun to make a wrap with homemade peanut butter and chia jam. But if your kiddo is extra hungry, try a wrap with turkey, avocado, and hummus instead. Healthy fats and protein all in one place!
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