Smarter Snacks: Picks for During & After School

by in Back to School, Kid-Friendly, August 21, 2009

I tell my younger clients to eat three meals and two to three small, healthy snacks a day. They often look at me with a puzzled face and say, “I’m supposed to snack?” Yes, of course, but it’s all about picking wisely.

Kids should get 25% of their daily calories from snacks, so these mini-meals should be full of vitamins and minerals to help them grow. But the question is: What’s a healthy snack that your kid (and you, too) will want to eat?

What Your Kids’ Snacks Need
Snacks should have some nutritional value. Your kids might ask for cookies, chips, donuts and candy, but they’re typically high in fat, sugar or both and offer little in the good-for-you department. Instead, choose foods that have around 150 calories and contain some fiber, calcium, iron or vitamins like A and C.

Most people, including kids, don’t get enough fiber, which has many benefits, including making you feel full and keeping your digestive tract healthy. Your kids of all ages need calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Iron is a key component of red blood cells and one of our most common deficiencies — lacking iron can lead to fatigue and affect your attention span, which isn’t helpful when you’re trying to learn.

During School
It’s tough to find time for a snack during the 4 minutes between classes, but it’s important to do so. If your child gets to school around 7 a.m. and their lunch is late in the day, she will get so hungry that all she’ll think about is food. Take a minute to pack a banana or an apple or put grapes, strawberries or raisins in a small resealable baggie or plastic container. Yogurts, string cheese, dried fruit, natural popcorn, granola bars and homemade trail mixes are also quick snacks that tuck into backpacks easily — and don’t make much mess.

After-School Treats
Typically, schools serve lunch around noon and dinner at home isn’t until 6 or 7 p.m. It’s definitely time for a snack around 3 or 4 p.m. Here are some more creative ideas to try when you have a little more time to prepare:

  • Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/4 cup blueberries
  • A slice of angel food cake topped with fresh berries
  • An apple dipped in 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 whole-wheat pita with hummus and sliced cucumbers
  • Hard-boiled egg with sliced veggies like tomatoes, radishes or cucumbers on the side
  • 1/2 cup pretzels dipped in 2 tablespoons of low-fat cream cheese
  • Edamame (baby soy beans)
  • A handful of almonds and dates: stuff 1 almond into each pitted date
  • 1 cup of homemade popcorn: try these tips for lighter flavor add-ins
  • 1 cup of cereal with 1% or skim milk
  • Turkey or ham roll ups: 1 slice lean deli meat rolled with 1 slice reduced fat American cheese

As I’ve learned from my own kids, children love to dip! Slice up some veggies, pretzels or baked chips and make your own dip:

And if you need something simple for a pinch, a sweet, juicy piece of fruit works wonders — like a fresh peach or orange slices. (That picture is of my daughter noshing on one of her favorite summer fruits.)

Hungry for more?
Check out more recipes I featured in an earlier post.

More posts from .

Similar Posts

5 Smoothies to Kick-Start Your Day

With all the super ingredients you can add to your morning smoothie, it can get overwhelming. Here are 5 smoothies that are the perfect balance of del...

Comments (21)

  1. Shannon says:

    I absolutely love peanut butter and one of my favorite after school snacks is a peanut butter banana smoothie. Blend about 1 frozen banana, yogurt, 1tablespoon of natural peanut butter and a little bit of chocolate milk. It's 10 times better than any milkshake!

  2. Bres Grandma says:

    I'm looking for a healthy snack for a group of 20 kindergarten children. Something festive for fall or Halloween. Any ideas???

  3. @Alex, that comment is likely not made by a regular reader but rather by a visiting reader who stumbled onto the post by accident.

  4. Bonjour, I am from Morocco and i want to present my views on this article. Can i post in Francais please? Do you understand Francais/Fench. Merci

  5. Lynna Alken says:

    Creo que sí. Creo que su artículo le dará a las personas un buen recordatorio. Y van a agradecer a usted más tarde

  6. ong jack says:

    De todas formas eso es sólo una pequeña parte de mí y espero poder aprender los conocimientos que perdí y mucho más

  7. I’ll straight away grasp your rss as I can not get back your e-mail subscription link otherwise newsletter service. Solve you have any? Entertain consent to me recognize in array that I possibly will immediately subscribe. Thanks.

  8. 這裡簡單就可以列舉5項nu skin, 每項產品都是從開封後使用到完喔!!nu skin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>