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Alright, the school year is beginning soon. My older daughter is finally old enough for elementary school year; and, I keep seeing other people post things on social media about buying all of these processed pre-packaged after school snacks. The health nut in me wants to tell them ‘NO!! that is not what you should be feeding your kids after school!!’ But, instead, I mind my own business because it’s not my place to tell them what to feed their kids.
But, if you’re lucky enough to have found this article, I want to share with you what you should be feeding your kids as an after school snack!!
Again, I can’t force you to provide the following snacks for your kids to choose from; nor can I force your kids to eat them, either! I simply want to give you some ideas to provide some nutrient rich snacks for your kids when they come home from a long day at school.
If you don’t have time to read through this, at least grab a handy healthy snack list to help you pick out some healthy snacks for your kids the next time you get groceries. (And to hang on the fridge!)
**Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietitian or a professional nutritionist. I simply believe in eating well for people of all ages, and I believe that a whole foods plant based diet is eating well, whereas processed foods are not.
Apples and Peanut Butter
A bag of apples and a jar of peanut butter should last all week for after school snacks, even if you have 2 children to feed. And, if you’re worried about price, think of it this way; it’s about the same price as a couple bags of chips. With the protein from the peanut butter, this snack should also help keep them full til dinner; no more “mom, I’m hungry” before you even start preparing dinner!
Banana and Cashews
Bananas are big in my home. My two girls and I eat one everyday til we run out. They’re cheap, delicious, and super easy to give as a snack; you don’t have to wash them or cut them up. Just peel and eat. The cashews add in some needed protein from a long day at school, and this combination is one of my favorites. Just a handful of cashews is needed.
Raw Veggies and Hummus
I love the idea of raw veggies and hummus, it just sounds super healthy. Too bad my girls aren’t big fans of it; just have to keep trying it til the day they actually enjoy it. Maybe your kids will like it!
I have yet to meet a child who does not like fruit salad. Even my five year old, who by the way thinks that everything I make her is disgusting, begs for me to make her a fruit salad on an almost weekly basis. This snack does take a little more prepping on our end, as parents. But, with all of the different vitamins and minerals from the variety of fruits; it’s absolutely worth it. Bring on the phytonutrients!
Trail Mix and Clementines
I’m not sure why, but these two types of foods always seemed to taste good together. This is an easy snack to prep for kids, too, especially if they’re able to open the clementines themselves. I highly recommend making your own trail mix at home instead of buying the pre made ones; if you just plan on buying the pre made ones from the store, then forget this is even on the list. But, if you do decide to put together your own trail mix, the options for what to put in are many. Mine and my girls favorite combination are peanuts, cashews, sunflower kernels, raisins, craisins, and non dairy chocolate chips.
Make sure to include fruits, veggies, ground flaxseed and/or chia seeds in the smoothie to get the most out it. I buy the large bag of mixed frozen fruit, fresh baby spinach, and of course bananas. Then simply add in the healthy fats(like flaxmeal and chia seeds) and water, then blend. Now you have a nutrient filled cup of deliciousness that will keep the kids full til dinner; isn’t that the goal here?
Again, if you plan on buying popsicles from the store, then ignore this one. But, if you make these yourself then they are so much better for your kiddos. Simply make extra smoothie and fill up some popsicle molds with it. Kids love these, it can even make for a nice breakfast in the summer. (This is what my five year old would ask for almost everyday last month!)
These nutrient packed little energy balls are perfect for a hard day after school, or simply a busy day at school. A great pick me up before starting homework. There’s so many different ways to make these, too. Here’s my recipe for them!!!
Homemade Cinnamon and Sugar Tortilla Chips with Fruit Dip
This snack does take more preparation than the previous snacks, and they may not last til the kids come home…. This is more of a healthier dessert than a healthy pick me up snack. But, hey, at least it’s better for you than store bought chips!
These are chalk full of protein and other wonderful nutrients. If you like these or can get your kids to eat them, more power to you. I’ve tried making these a few times with recipes I found online, but they never turned out quite right. I have recently been looking through my Oh She Glows cookbook recently though, and I’m going to try the chickpea recipe in there. This book makes it look delicious, plus I tried the tofu recipe in this book and it was amazing! After dozens of times trying to make tofu taste good, this book nailed it, and I did too (on the first try!!). If you’d rather something high in protein for your kids that’s a little sweeter than roasted chickpeas, try out these chocolate chip cookies!!
Can you tell yet that we love peanut butter in our home. And, we love things to taste sweet! If you or your child has a peanut allergy, you could replace the peanut butter with almond or cashew butter. I actually used peanut butter and almond butter when I made this snack. Along with the apples, non dairy chocolate chips, and peanuts. Depending on how many kids you have, you may need to make two plates of these; they go fast.
Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding with Fruit
This snack doesn’t only taste good, it’s also packed full of omega 3 fatty acids. The gel like texture of the chia seeds also helps with digestion because of the way it absorbs what it’s near. If you’re not sure if you’re kids will like this; start with 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 4 tbsp vanilla non diary milk. Then add in some maple syrup, part of an extra ripe banana and some warmed fruit on top. My toddler eats this up like it’s ice cream. You can buy chia seeds in bulk, too. I have a huge container of chia seeds, it’s lasted me a year and it looks like I’d barely made a dent in it.
Kiwi, Strawberries and Dark Chocolate
And, just in case they need a chocolate fix after a particularly rough day at school, give them some kiwi, strawberries and dark chocolate. This combination is simply mouth watering, and a child of any age would love it, whether they had a rough day at school of not.
I know it’s just my opinion, but…
please, please don’t just buy some granola bars, some fruit gummy snacks, and juice pouches for your kids and call it a day.
How much harder is it for you to put some fruits, veggies, or some healthy sources of protein (like nuts) in your cart instead of heavily processed kids snacks? Do you even know what is in those packages, like the actual ingredients?
Many contain high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or some other type of sugar/sweetener. Most also contain BHT to keep the food fresh to be shelf stable…Do you know what else BHT is used for?
Well, let’s just say; you don’t want to know…
These are our children we’re talking about. And, yes, I know it may be an adjustment for yourself and your children to start eating these snacks rather than packaged snacks. But, it’s a worthwhile change! It’ll help prevent diseases and too much weight gain that’ll be harder to take off later in life. We need to set our kids up for success when it comes to their health and their education; and the best way to do that is to give them the fuel (food) they need to power those brains of theirs, and their bodies.
Please, do yourself a favor, or do your child a favor, and start providing better after school snacks.
Let me know how this works for you and your children. A little push back from you’re children would be expected at first.
If you didn’t have time to read this post and just scrolled to the bottom, don’t worry- I have a quick printable with a list of healthy snack foods for you to reference while at the store! Or, you could always pin it!
8 Quick and Healthy Vegan Meal Ideas
12 Ways to Get Veggies into a Childs Diet
10 Reasons You Need a Nutribullet as a Mom