To accompany our special promotional section this month on Back to School I thought it would be helpful to discuss the issue of after school snacks. My kids started back to school last week and we are now fully back into the swing of things. A typical afternoon involves them stumbling off the bus, tired and hungry, looking for a magical snack that not only tastes good but will give them the energy needed to get them through homework and various after school activities.
As the kids rush in the door they are most likely to grab the most convenient item available. So, if the most convenient option on hand is junk food – than that is what they will probably choose. This year focus on having great snack items on hand that will make both you and your kids happy. Below you will find some great tips to make afternoon snacking both fun, convenient and nutritious:
Give them healthy choices – salty or sweet?
Kids typically don’t like being confined to only one option for snacks. They like to be given options…after all sometimes salty things sound better than sweet things or vice versa, right? Make sure they have a choice between some sweet things (like fruit) and some other savory or salty things.
Make snacks available in convenient pre-proportioned bags or cups
Let’s face it – we’ve all heard the question (or complaint) that there is nothing to eat. My response is…”Well, sure there is….there’s nuts, bananas, apples, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc." And they always reply, “I don’t want any of that.” My theory on this is because in order to go after any of these snacks, they actually have to do something. The solution takes a little effort on your part (or even better, involve your kids) – take some mini snack bags and make pre-portioned snacks. If it’s fruit, then cut up. If its nuts, maybe throw in some raisins or dried fruit into it to make it more interesting, or try this month’s recipe for gluten-free Chex Mix. If it’s cottage cheese, put it in a small zip lock container and top it with some fruit. The idea here is to make some healthy options available to the kids that are easy to grab.
Dips make snacking much more fun!
If you are having trouble getting your kid to eat more fruits and vegetables try accompanying the fruit or vegetable with a dip. You can purchase a gf ranch dressing for vegetables or you can try our Creamy Orange Dressing or Creamy Gorgonzola Herb Dressing for a different twist. For fruit a perfect dip is our Sour Cream Sauce (awesome with just about any fruit). And of course, let’s not forget peanut butter! Great for dipping fruit and celery!
Frozen treats are always fun. Make popsicles out of juice using either popsicle molds or ice cube trays & popsicle sticks. Frozen fruit makes an excellent snack – not only is it cool and fun to eat but it also gives them the added nutrition and fiber that they can always use. Great options for freezing are nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, plums, and grapes.
Afternoon Snack List:
Here is a helpful list that might help you get some ideas for nutritious and convenient after-school snacks.
- Cottage Cheese & Fresh Fruit
- Fruit Slices with Peanut Butter
- String Cheese
- Trail Mix
- Veggie Sticks
- GF Snack Bars
- GF Muffins
- GF Pretzels
- GF Tortillas & fresh Pico de Gallo
- GF Crackers & sliced cheese
- Nuts with dried fruit
- Celery Sticks with Peanut Butter
- Frozen Fruit
- Chef Jessica