How to Make Easy and Healthy After School Snacks for Kids

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After School Snacks

When children get home from school, one of the first things that they say is, "I'm hungry!" So what do you have on hand to feed those hungry little brainiacs when they get home? I'm one of those mean moms that doesn't give my kids sugar filled snacks to eat so here are some ideas to make those after school snacks easy, healthy and delicious.

Healthy Snack Preparation

I don't know about you but I don't have a lot of time to dish out snacks after school. Between the homework, dinner preparation and carting kids to different activities, I want this to be a seamless event each day. There are several things that you can do to make this easy on yourself.

  1. Prepare snacks on the weekend. Make things easy on yourself and cut up any snack items before you start your busy work and school week. Place them in airtight containers
  2. Snack Shelf. Create a snack shelf for your children. You can have one in the fridge and one in the pantry where your children can reach it. I keep a bowl with 'pre-approved' snacks in it in the pantry. My kids know that they are allowed to go in there and help themselves to something if they are hungry. It creates independence and helps free me up to get other things done. You can do the same thing in the fridge by cleaning out a lower shelf or drawer that your child can reach.
  3. Pre-packaged items. Go ahead and buy those pre-packed snacks, just read the labels. Be sure that they are healthy choices that are both low in fat and sugar content.

Nutritious Snack Ideas

It may seem easier to grab a bag of potato chips or some cookies to fill those hungry bellies. However, there are so many wonderful things out there that you can use for quick but healthy snacks.

  1. Raw vegetables. Kids love the crunch of raw vegetables. Pre-bag some carrots, cucumbers, celery or any other veggies that your kids like. To make it a little more interesting, put out a little dish of hummus or ranch dressing for them to dip it in.
  2. Ants on a log. This is a classic. Just take some celery cleaned and cut into pieces and spread peanut butter or cream cheese onto it. Add some raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit to the top. Kids love this snack!
  3. Fresh fruit. Cut up what ever fruit is in season at the time and leave it in a covered bowl in the fridge. Keep it within easy reach for the kids and they can help themselves when the get home. If you are looking for a way to spice up eating fruit, try adding a side of peanut butter to dip apple or banana slices in. Or keep a bowl of fruit on the counter with things like oranges, apples or peaches in it.
  4. Sandwich roll-ups. Simply take a whole grain tortilla or wrap and spread your child's favorite sandwich items on it. You can use cheese and lunchmeat or peanut butter and jelly. Roll up the tortilla and slice it into one inch pieces. Place them in a zip lock sandwich bag with 2-3 in each one. Leave these in the fridge for easy access after school.
  5. Trail Mix. In a bag mix up raisins, dried cranberries, a variety of nuts, some pretzels, different cereals, even a little popcorn and toss it all together. Think about what your children like to eat and mix it all up in a large bag. Then in smaller snack size baggies, pre-portion the trail mix out for your child. Keep it on that kid level shelf for them to get on their own after school.
  6. Cheese and crackers. Slice or cube up some cheese ahead of time and put them in baggies for easy access. Keep some crackers on a shelf in the pantry and it is the perfect match for a healthy after school snack.
  7. Pre-packaged snacks. Pre-packaged snacks are great too. I am definitely in favor of them. My only concern with them is that you need to check the labels carefully. Not all prepacked snacks are single portion sizes so make sure that your child is only eating one portion. Also, keep a close eye on the sugar and fat content. Some of my kids' favorites are Stoneyfield Farms Organic yogurt tubes, Target brand organic fruit strips, and veggie straws.


Common After School Snack Mistakes

  1. Sugary snacks. Sugary snacks do not promote healthy living for children. They create thirst and develop a dependence on sugar.
  2. Large portion sizes. One of the biggest mistakes that people make in general, especially in America, is to consume large portions of food. If we teach our children at a young age that eating small portions of food is what is best for our bodies, we are teaching them life skills at an early age.
  3. Snacks high in fat. You want to make sure that your snacks are promoting healthy eating. Choosing snacks that are high in fat are counterproductive to a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Filling your child up. Remember, this is just a snack. Most likely dinner is just a couple of hours away and you don't want your child to be too full to eat dinner.

Going back to school doesn't have to be stressful. With a little bit of preparation in the beginning, it can be a smooth transition.

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Comments 31 comments

leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 5 years ago from Western New York

I love these snack ideas - especially the trail mix (easy to make and it won't spoil over the span of a week)! We are getting a new fridge in a couple of weeks, and I'll be sure to designate a shelf for snacks - it will make my life easier in the crazy after-school rush!


Rosie writes profile image

Rosie writes 5 years ago from Virginia

Well written article, nicely organized and easy to follow. Great tips!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Leah. I wrote it as a reminder for myself before the grind starts back up again but hope that others find it useful too. Glad you did and thanks for stopping by.

Rosie, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Glad you like it.


miccimom profile image

miccimom 5 years ago from U.S.A

I like the ants on a log idea! Never heard of that one...def going to try it! Good Hub. Voted Up and Useful!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Great snack ideas and I love your tips for advance preparation and fostering your children's independence by dedicating low shelf space so they can help themselves to their healthy treats.

I like your daughter's apple- add 2 eyes and a nose and you have an apple smiley face to match her own big grin!


LearnFromMe profile image

LearnFromMe 5 years ago

These are great snack ideas and tips. The snacks would even be great to send to school with children. I can't believe how many students come to school with sugary snacks or large portions of chips, cookies, etc. Those snacks do nothing for students when they need to focus and stay awake during classes after lunch.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Glad you found something you want to try miccimom. It was always a staple in our house growing up.

Thanks Gail. Sometimes I wonder if I give my kids too much independence! You are right about the apple, we should have added some raisins to it!

I know learnfromme! I see the same thing and you are right they would be perfect for snacks at school. Many of my students bring large bags of hot cheetos and a bottle of mountain dew for lunch and that is the 4th grade! It really sickens me. :(


david clarke 5 years ago

nice article :-)


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Ants on a log-hmmm. It sounds tasty, but I don't think that name would go over well in my family. Raisins on a log would be better for us-large ants tend to remind us of spiders.


A.CreativeThinker 5 years ago

Great snack ideas for kids and adults alike. Much better for you than the high fat, sugar and salt store alternatives! Great hub. :)

Regards,

A.CreativeThinker


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean

You seem like such an organized mom. Ants on a log really sound classic!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Great snack ideas and general advice for parents. It's important for adults to snack on healthy foods as well. Parents can set an example for their kids by snacking on the healthy foods that they promote.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks David for reading and commenting.

Whatever you decide to call it Flora, it's tasty and good for you. Hope everyone enjoys it!

You are right A.CreativeThinker, it is good for kids and adults! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Oh MsDora if you only knew! I wish I were as organized as I appear to be. This is actually my way of getting my behind in check for the start of the school year.

Agreed RandomCreative, I try to do that with my kids. It is important for us as adults to model the behavior that we want our children to have. Thanks for commenting.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

Great tips here. I used to serve fruit chunks with toothpicks or bamboo skewers. It's amazing how kids don't realize they've eaten a whole banana or apple when it's in bite-sized pieces.


Vanessa Anderson profile image

Vanessa Anderson 5 years ago from The Sunshine State

This is awesome! With my little one starting Kindergarten next week, this is going to help a lot. Thanks for sharing!!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Aunt Danette, I do that with my kids too.

Glad to have been able to help Vanessa! Good luck with Kindergarten, it can be a big adjustment for all!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Great snack ideas! You're an awesome mom, cardelean!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Simone, I hope my kids think that when they get a little older!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

You're such a clever mom-great healthy eating tips and promotion of independence...reminds me of what I used to do when I had young kids :) BTW: what a million dollar smile Gracie has in the photo! Voted up, etc.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

LOL, funny because I was thinking about the milk pitcher in the fridge as I was writing this. Like mother, like daughter I guess! Yes, my little poser is always up for taking pics for Mommy's hubs. :)


Karen N profile image

Karen N 5 years ago from United States

Lots of good ideas, I definitely need to get more organized.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Oh Karen, I'm not nearly as organized as I might appear! It is really just a goal that I try to strive for each day. Glad you liked it and thanks for reading and commenting.


PeanutButterWine profile image

PeanutButterWine 5 years ago from North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Ok that 'ants on a log' thing is awesome! I can't wait to try it... my kids have their own snack drawer as well with dried apricots and oatmeal cookies etc in there. Love the cubed cheese idea because my kids just love cheese and crackers and I don't always have time to stop and cut it up for them :) Thanks for the great tips, I can't wait to read more of your Hubs ... Voted up !


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

A snack drawer creates such independence doesn't it? I hope your kids like the ants on a log and I'm glad that you stopped by to read PBW!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Cara-don't you just love her writers name...it has it all-the peanut butter for the kid in her and the wine for the adult, LOL Quite the combo...I thought of you!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Yes! I'd really actually love to know what peanut butter wine tastes like. I wonder if you mix it with a fruity wine if it will be like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!!!!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

LOL That's a good one! Witty and beautiful-you've got it all, LOL

You must take after your mother. Oh, yeah-you do :)


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 5 years ago from India

Hi cardelean, very nice snack ideas. they are not good only for children but for adults too. I think i am going to try your advise on all thes things esp about the airtight containers. Thanks


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

I hope they work for you sweetie1! Thanks for stopping by and reading.


VeronicaFarkas profile image

VeronicaFarkas 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

These are all great and simple ideas. I like that you recommended making snacks on the weekend. Being prepared helps so much, especially if something were to come up one particular day!

Ants on a log are so cute! =]

Voted up & useful!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Veronica. It really helps when you can prepare ahead of time. I can tell the difference when I get behind in things and don't get a chance to. So glad that you found it useful.

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