When the kids get home from school, the first thing they want to do is get a snack from the kitchen. It is often easiest to have a variety of fatty snacks available to give them on demand, but, although fine for an occasional treat, they shouldn’t be offered on a regular basis.
Healthy after-school snacks don’t need to be time-consuming to make, however, as evidenced by the following suggestions.
All children love a popsicle, regardless of how cold it is outside. However, if you buy from the supermarket, you don’t always know what goes into them, apart from a bunch of fancy words you can’t pronounce.
Instead, make your own smoothies in advance and keep them in the freezer to hand out as and when necessary. You can make the smoothie recipe as simple or as complicated as you want; a good base is a simple banana and strawberry recipe, such as this one. Invest in a set of popsicle makers and you have a regular source of after-school snacks.
Sweet potato fries
Most kids love fries, but the high fat and salt content precludes them from being a regular snack. Sweet potato fries, however, are lower in fat than the ordinary potato version and, if you make them yourself, you can ensure that the salt content is kept to a minimum. Cut the sweet potato into thickish slices, sprinkle with olive oil and a little salt, pepper and paprika and bake them for around 20 minutes. Ensure they have cooled for a few minutes before handing them to children.
Cheese on toast is a long-running snack favorite, but on bread and with full-fat cheese, that can turn into a lot of calories. Try a healthier version made from halved bagels and spread with a tomato-based sauce of your own making, topped with grated cheese. You can add anything else you like too, including olives, peppers, meat and anything else your child likes. Children will think it is a pizza.
Peanut butter has always been a popular choice for an after-school snack, but too much tends to put children off their main meal when it comes around. Accompanied by healthier ingredients, however, you can ensure that your children enjoy the taste of peanut butter without too many concerns. The Food Network suggests slicing apples, spreading peanut butter on each slice and pressing granola into the peanut butter.
Cheese saltine sandwiches
Processed cheese has come a long way over the years. It still isn’t the healthiest option, but as an occasional snack, cheese triangles such as the Dairylea brand are still an exceptionally quick and easy way to provide your children with some much needed energy. Accompany it with saltine crackers, ideally the type that has holes, so that your child can make a sandwich and have fun pressing the cheese through the holes. If you’re worried that there aren’t enough nutrients, accompany it with a few grapes or slices of apple.
Providing your kids with healthy after-school snacks that don’t take long to prepare and don’t stop them from eating their dinner later doesn’t need to be a complicated process. With a little bit of preparation, you can ensure that there is something nutritious for them more or less as soon as they walk through the door.