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Home from School and…HUNGRY!

Submitted by on September 14, 2017 – 7:58 pmNo Comment

After School Snacks can be Healthy and Easy

After School Snacks Can be Healthy and Easy

When your kids get home from school you can bet they’ll be starving. Most primary grade students eat their lunch well before the noon hour so by the time they come through the front door, they’re very hungry!

After school snack time offers an opportunity to teach your children about healthy food choices. They could plow through a bag of chips or cookies and they’d feel full. But with just a tiny bit of planning and some smart shopping, you can keep healthy snack options available to your kids for after school.

When the weather is still warm

Frozen Yogurt/Juice Bars are a great treat to make ahead for those fall days still sunny and warm. Orange juice and non-fat yogurt is a good choice, but why not try some exotic flavors too such as mango, cherry or guava?

Frozen Bananas rolled in chocolate and nuts makes a great after school treat.

Fresh fruit pieces are welcome in any weather, but on a warm day they hit the spot. Try offering sliced apples, pears, and bananas with a dip of yogurt sweetened with a bit of honey.

Old favorites

Spruce up fresh veggies by adding a flavorful dip such as low-fat ranch or hummus. And don’t offer just carrots and celery, branch out with cherry tomatoes, jicama slices, snow peas or pepper slices.

Crackers and Cheese are always a hit. You might throw in a cheese other than cheddar, try string cheeses and find the healthiest crackers available.

Rice Cakes with their satisfying crunch make a great bed for any number of toppings. In addition to peanut butter, Nutella, cheese spreads and the like, why not add bits of dried fruit, fresh apple pieces, banana slices or berries?

Homemade and Healthy

Kids love to come home to the aroma of fresh baked treats. Mini-muffins made with applesauce substituted for part of the oil are a delicious and healthy choice. Add dried fruits and use part whole grain flours for added nutrition.

Gorp is a trail mix made with a wide variety of healthy ingredients. Begin with your favorite dried fruits—apricots, peaches, dates, raisins and mix with nuts plus something sweet such as a few M&M’s or chocolate chips. You’ll save a ton of money if you make your own gorp rather than buying expensive, pre-made trail mixes.

Air-popped popcorn with an added flavor is a change from sweet snacks. For the adventurous, sprinkle on seasonings such as garlic salt or chili powder. For a more tame taste, add freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

If You’re On the Go

Peanut Butter Balls or almond butter balls are great for on-the-go snacks. If you have after school sports or other activities to attend, you can eat these tasty treats in the car with minimal mess. Begin with peanut butter; add oats, honey and your choice of seeds, nuts, and dried fruits. Coconut and chocolate chips are other good additions. Mix together and form into balls. Store these in the refrigerator before you take them along and serve them while you travel.

Kashi brand granola bars, made with nutritious ingredients and nothing artificial are good choices for in-car eating too. They come in many varieties and include seeds, nuts, whole grains and real fruit.

Pretzel Snack Mixes are crunchy, tasty treats that travel well in baggies. They are made up of pretzels, crackers, nuts and Chex cereals of your choice. They’re usually seasoned with savory flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, onion powder or garlic salt.

Kids love to have choices. When you plan ahead and have healthy snacks available, they’ll be sure to pick something to both satisfy their hunger and keep them in tip-top health.

Jan Pierce is a retired teacher and reading specialist. She is the author of Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read and Homegrown Family Fun: Unplugged. Both are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Jan lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and specializes in parenting, education and family Life articles. Find Jan at www.janpierce.net

 

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