If youâ€™re like most parents, when your kids come home after school, theyâ€™re hungry and ready to snack. And if your kids are like most kids, theyâ€™d be happy to fill up on chips, cookies, and pop; or any snacks or drinks with high levels of sugar, artificial colors and flavors, and empty calories. But is there a better option?
Providing healthy snacks is one of the best things parents can do to help their childâ€™s mind sharp and energy high so theyâ€™re ready for sports practice of homework.
Of course, what is in these snacks is important. Children need nutritious foods with vitamins and minerals, same as adults. The best source of these? You guessed it! Fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and foods naturally high in protein are ideal for your childâ€™s after-school snack.
Letâ€™s take a look at some of these options and some warning about what to avoid.
Skip the juice aisle and go for fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruits. If your child drinks a lot of juice, limit their servings or go for 100% juice with no added sugars. Canned or packaged fruits in juice can be an easy grab-and-go snack, but be careful about varieties that add sugar and corn syrup.
When it comes to dried fruits, be adventurous. Try a trail mix that comes with raisins or craisins, and a variety of different seeds and nuts. Feel free to experiment with dried apricots or try out dried apple or banana chips. And remember that one-quarter cup of dried fruit is equal to one cup of raw fruit.
As with fruits, you can find fresh, frozen, canned, and dried varieties of vegetables. Have a student on the go? Keep a baggie of raw baby carrots or sugar snap peas ready to go. Want to mix it up on a hot summer day? Try crunching on some frozen peas; theyâ€™re crisp and delicious.
A go to favorite, ants on a log, is as simple as spreading peanut butter and raisins in the groove of a celery stick – sub in sunflower butter for a nut-free option.
Snack Combo Recipes
Want more variety in your snacking? Try some of these easy snack combinations below.
Youâ€™ll love fun options like a popcorn trail mix. Start with lightly salted homemade popcorn, then mix in your choice of toppings, like nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, toasted coconut chips, or gluten free pretzels.
Another easy, portable snack thatâ€™s high in protein? Nuts and seeds. Let your child choose his favorite. Everything from pistachios, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds can easily be snacked on at home or taken on the go for a quick energy boost.
A perfect fall and winter snack is roasted chickpeas, seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg. Head over to She Knows for the recipe.
You and your child will both love Banana Dog Bites. Simply smear your choice of nut butter (or non-nut butter like sunflower butter) over a brown rice tortilla, roll it up with a banana, slice, and serve. Delicious!
For kids who struggle with snacking healthy, or for tikes that already eat healthily but need a little extra nutrition, shop Apricot Power, Garden of Life, and NOW Foods.
Apricot Power provides a variety of products containing B17, a unique nutrient that seeks to provide support for the body in a number of ways. Let your child indulge his sweet tooth with Apricot Powerâ€™s Aprisweet B17 Chocolate Bar, or make your favorite trail mix with the addition of Apricot Powerâ€™s Bitter Raw Apricot Seeds.
Garden of Life
Garden of Life is a recognized leader and innovator of whole food nutritional supplements. Supplement any snacking regimen with Garden of Lifeâ€™s Kids Multi-Gummies, super-yummy vitamin gummies made from real, organic, non-GMO fruits and vegetables. Or, to help support their school performance, try Garden of Lifeâ€™s Dr. Formulated Brain Health Attention & Focus for Kids.
Since the 1940s, NOW Foods has been one of the most well-known and trusted names in natural health. One of their most popular products for kids is Berry Dophilus for Kids, a chewable tablet that provides 2 billion CFU from a combination of 10 probiotic bacterial strains designed to support GI health and healthy immune system function.
How do you help your kids snack healthy after school?