I don’t know about you, but my kids are always STARVING after school! Who thought 11:15am was an appropriate time for lunch, when school gets out at 3pm?! And why does this time coincide with my “hunger attack” as well? Well, the dilemma is that they’re so hungry they can eat a full meal at 3pm, then they’re never hungry for dinner. I try not to use the “drive thru,” but it’s hard to come up with new snacks or after school “mini meals,” after all, cheese and crackers and bowls of cereal get old!
Here are 10 great after school snacks, easy to prepare, healthy and delicious! Remember to keep it simple; you don’t need to make caterpillars and butterflies out of food, seriously, who has time for that! (I guess lots of people, just go on Pinterest!)
1) Smoothies- a no brainer, all kids like them, easy and quick, and really no need to spend $9 at the juice bar place for a simple fruit/veggie smoothie. I have several recipes on my Smoothie Blog. Best part is each kid can choose their fruits, veggies and/or greens and make their own.
2) Trail Mix- Love trail mix! Unfortunately, our house is peanut-free because of my son’s allergy, but we always have PLENTY of seeds and tree nuts in the house. Again, everyone can make their own; some almonds, walnuts, cashews, then add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds and mix with unsweetened dried fruits (I love cherries, cranberries, figs, and of course, raisins). My daughter likes her chocolate, so she adds small pieces of dark chocolate to hers!
3) Homemade Popsicles- LOVE these, especially in the summer! Our “popsicles” are made with leftover smoothies. Great way to re-energize after school! Add plain greek yogurt to your smoothies for a protein boost!
4) PB & J Bites- Haven’t made these, but they sound delicious! I guess we will be trying them with almond or sunflower seed butter. From Family Circle Magazine, get the Recipe HERE.
5) Quesadillas- This is definitely a frequent choice at our house; simple, satisfying. My favorite is black bean, corn and cheese quesadillas with avocado…yum! And remember, while there are MANY fast food places that offer quesadillas, when you make them at home you have full control of the quality of ingredients, as well as fat and sodium content.
6) Apples with Peanut Butter or PB Dip- One of my daughter’s favorite, you can use any nut butter and this snack gives you plenty of vitamins, fiber, protein and healthy fats…winner! You can also mix your nut butter with a little yogurt, cinnamon and raisins for a tasty variation!
7) Muffins and milk- my take on cookies and milk! You know I LOVE muffins; great vehicle for adding great ingredients like coconut oil, greek yogurt, fruits and vegetables. My kids favorites: Banana Mini Muffins and Blueberry-Maple Muffins. Love these because I can bring them in the car and they can eat them immediately after school, for those busy days when we can’t go back home!
8) Yogurt, granola and fruit parfait- always a favorite, but be careful with store bought granola…it can be very high in fat and sugar. Here’s a recipe for my favorite Make Your Own Healthy Granola from Elizabeth Rider
9) Hummus with veggies and parmesan pita chips- hummus is easy to make, but there are many decent already prepared options…look at the ingredient list! It should be short and simple. Parmesan pita chips add extra flavor. We also like carrot sticks, celery and cherry tomatoes with hummus. Here’s a great recipe for Hummus with Parmesan Pita Chips from Family Circle.
10) Bowl of soup- any soup! I like to make soups on the weekends, especially at this time of year, and there are few things more satisfying than a great bowl of soup with a grilled cheese or toast! Favorites at our house…Butternut Squash Soup and Chickpea and Winter Vegetable Stew