*This post was written in partnership with my friends at Baby Gourmet. All opinions, as usual, are my own.
I don’t know about your kids, but my kids have a one-track mind when they return from school: FOOD. And there’s no hunger quite like after-school hunger—it’s been a few hours since they’ve eaten, and they’ve been busy focusing, playing and being active—it’s definitely time for a snack!
It’s important that kids eat every few hours to keep their energy levels up and meet their daily nutrition requirements. Going more than four hours is certainly not in anyone’s favor – in fact, it will most certainly create a “hangry” meltdown.
I find it really helpful to have a list of easy and nutritious options, so that my kids aren’t eating the same thing day after day, or grabbing something that’s less-than-stellar in the nutrition department. At the same time, I’m a busy mom with three kids, so convenience is key.
I’ve fallen in love with Baby Gourmet’s new Shakers Beverages for this very reason—they’re made with 80% whole, organic milk, have 24 vitamins and minerals and come in two delicious flavors (chocolate and vanilla). Bonus: they only have three grams of added sugar per serving. I love that they’re nutrient-rich, filling and hydrating. Not to mention super convenient!
I always try to include at least two foods in my kids’ snacks – something rich in protein (milk, yogurt, cheese, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, meat, etc.) and a fruit or vegetables or a whole grain food.
Protein-rich food + fruit/veggie and/or a whole grain = Stellar After-School Snack
Here are my top 15 kid-tested after-school snack options:
Green Smoothie or Smoothie Bowl:
Regardless of the season, smoothies are always a staple in our house. Include fruit, veggies, yogurt and milk (we use Baby Gourmet Shakers for the liquid to add some extra nutrition). Here’s a great green smoothie recipe.
Easy Salsa Mini Pita Pizzas:
Take whole grain pitas and spread salsa and grated cheddar cheese on top. Place on a foil wrapped baking tray and into the toaster oven until edges are brown and cheese is melted. Serve in quarters on their own OR with low fat sour cream or guacamole as a dip.
Greek Yogurt Parfait:
Top Greek yogurt with sliced fruit, seeds, and a bit of granola for a tasty and nutritious snack.
Baby Gourmet Shakers drink + piece of fruit:
Perfect for kiddos who have activities after school and need something “on the go” and hydrating.
Raw veggies strips + hummus:
I often serve veggies before dinner because I find that my kids gobble them up because they’re not competing with any other preferred foods. This also takes the pressure off for dinner-veggie-eating. Have at least three different colors and a dip that they like.
Pear and Almond Butter Wraps:
Spread almond butter (or any other kind of nut or seed butter) onto a whole grain soft tortilla shell. Wash, dry and slice a pear into thin slices and place slices in the middle of the tortilla. Wrap the tortilla up, cut the wrap into bite sized pieces width-wise and serve!
Homemade protein-rich flourless muffin + piece of fruit:
I’ve been on a flourless blender muffin kick lately. There’s nothing easier than tossing some nutritious ingredients into a blender and then baking! Pair with some fruit for a balanced snack. Try these flourless peanut butter and banana muffins or these chocolate zucchini blender muffins.
Homemade protein ball(s) + unsweetened fruit/veggie sauce:
I love protein balls (or “bites”) because they’re so easy to make and kids love them. You can also pack them full of nutrition. Pair with some unsweetened fruit sauce (I like “Slammers” pouches), and you’ve got a great snack! Try these peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough protein balls and these double chocolate coconut protein balls.
Fruit “nachos” with Greek Yogurt and Peanut Butter Drizzle:
This is one of our favorite new snacks because it’s naturally sweet, fun to eat and loaded with nutrition. Layer fruit on a plate, sprinkle with seeds, coconut and dark chocolate chips, and then drizzle with Greek yogurt and natural peanut butter. Here’s a fruit nachos recipe!
Cheese and Fruit Kabobs:
Wash and cut your kids’ favorite fruits into bite-sized pieces (i.e., strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple etc.). Cut cheddar or mozzarella cheese into medium-sized cubes. Alternating fruit, stick onto skewer with a cube of cheese on either end of skewer.
Homemade granola bar + Fruit:
Make a big batch of homemade granola bars, and individually freeze them for lunchboxes or after-school grab-and-go snacks. Here’s are my favorite granola bar recipe.
Popcorn + cheese + fruit
Popped corn is nutritious and high fibre (and kids love it!). Pair it with a little bit of cheese and fruit, and you’ve got a balanced and nutritious snack!
Apple slices + nut butter + coconut and chocolate sprinkles:
Slice apples, dip them in your kid’s favourite nut or seed butter and then sprinkle shredded coconut or a few chocolate chips on top.
Hardboiled egg + veggies or fruit: Eggs are nutritional powerhouses on their own, but when you pair with a piece of fruit or some veggies, it’s pretty much the perfect snack.
Chia pudding + fruit: We often make homemade chia pudding (it’s so easy!). Here’s one of my favourite chia pudding recipes.
Whole grain crackers, cheese cubes and fruit: This trio wins in the nutrition department and it’s super easy to throw together (you can get your kids to do it!).
For easy, family-friendly recipes, check out my recipe page!
Did you know that we provide one on one nutrition counselling services for families? If this is something you’d like to learn more about, check out our The Centre For Family Nutrition page.