It’s that time of year! As summer months wind down and the kids are headed back to school, you’re probably thinking about getting back into a routine of healthy eating (maybe for both you and the kids). Creating a healthy snack routine can help parents feel good about what they’re serving and give kids the energy and brain power they need for homework and after school activities.
When it comes to after school snacking, aim for a few things:
- Tasty foods that kids will enjoy (and actually eat).
- Something that’s easy, accessible, and doesn’t take a lot of time to pull together when schedules are tight.
- A balance of nutrients — fiber, protein, and fat — to fill up little bellies and keep them full until dinner.
When balancing nutrients to fill you and your kids up, think about including at least two our of three of the following:
- Fiber from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, or beans/legumes
- Protein from dairy foods, eggs, beans, or meat (nuts, seeds, and whole grains also have a small amount of protein)
- Fat from nuts, seeds, avocado, or cheese
10 Easy, Balanced, and Delicious Afterschool Snack Ideas:
- Mini yogurt parfaits with Greek yogurt, crumbled BeBOLD bar, and strawberries. The perfect trifecta — protein, fiber, and fat — with plenty of flavor. Serve them up in a fun glass or cup and it will feel like a special treat!
- Raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips and string cheese. Raspberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup, making them great for filling you up and supporting healthy digestion.
- Sliced apple or pear with nut butter and raisins or mini chocolate chips. While you could skip the raisins or chocolate chips, those make it a little more fun for kids, and might encourage even pickier eaters to give this snack a try.
- Edamame with a squeeze of lime and salt. Edamame are packed with protein and fiber, making them a filling snack all on their own. Buy the ones in the pods for an activity and a snack in one.
- Cucumbers, whole grain crackers, and hummus. Aim for a cracker that contains at least 3g of fiber per serving for a filling snack.
- Roasted chickpeas. Like edamame, chickpeas contain both protein and fiber and when roasted they become crunchy and oh so satisfying. Make your own or buy them in the snack aisle. There are savory and sweet options for all palates.
- Whole grain crackers with cheese or guacamole. While we love traditional chips and guac, whole grain crackers can be just as good for dipping and offer more belly-filling fiber.
- Fresh banana slices with nut butter and crushed BeBOLD bar. Slice a banana in half lengthwise, spread a thin layer of nut butter and top with your favorite flavor of BeBOLD bar crumbled. Freeze for a fun ice-cream like snack that everyone in the house will be asking for.
- Cottage cheese with pineapple or mandarin oranges (in water). Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein. To make it even more satisfying, choose full fat cottage cheese.
- Popcorn and sliced fruit. Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain and a good source of fiber? Pair it with whatever fruit is in season for a quick and satisfying snack.
Sarah Gold Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian, certified intuitive eating counselor, and the owner of Sarah Gold Nutrition, a virtual private practice and nutrition communications consulting business in the suburbs of Boston. She empowers busy moms to ditch diets and learn to eat and feed their families to feel their best without the stress.