Healthy After-School Snacks

If your kids are like mine, they come home from school HUNGRY. I’ve been working a lot on packing healthy lunches for them, and consequently on providing healthy snacks for when they get home. If you’re out of ideas, here are a few oldies (but goodies!) and a few new ideas for you to try with your kids.

1. Variations on “ants on a log”. I bet we can all remember having a celery stalk with peanut butter and raisins, but you can also halve a thick carrot and add the toppings the same way! Try a different kind of nut butter (or sun butter) for a new flavor, add honey if your sweetie likes sweets, and if your kids don’t like raisins, try Craisins for a similar effect with a tart pop!

2. Peanut butter on anything. Speaking of that wonderful creation: peanut butter. It goes with anything. Apples, bananas, carrots, celery, on lots of different kinds of bread (try tortillas, pita, or naan), rice cakes, or just on a spoon. My friend’s mom used to make “fruit pizza”, which was pizza crust or pita, with a layer of peanut butter and honey (or caramel for a treat), with bites of fruit, nuts, and granola sprinkled on top. It was a major win, especially if you need a snack that’s multiple servings.

3. Tortilla sushi. You can take a tortilla and put a thin layer of mayo or mustard, deli meat, lettuce, and cheese, roll it tightly, and slice it into “sushi bites”. It transforms a “boring” wrap into a fun snack! As you can imagine, peanut butter and jelly (I buy Polaner’s Fruit Spread that’s sweetened with only fruit juice) works just as well! Or, if your kids are like mine, picking up a California roll for some REAL sushi is a hit, too!

4. Chips and salsa or guac. With this one, the fresher the better. Grab some avocados from Costco or Trader Joe’s, add tomatoes, some onion, lime juice, salt and pepper, and you’ve got yourself a pleasing and healthy guacamole for an easy snack. Lots of grocery stores have Wholly Guacamole if you aren’t a cook, or some fresh-made salsa in their deli section. We like black bean and corn salsa for its protein, too, easily whipped up with tomato, onion, lime juice, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Try a new salsa on your kids!

5. Protein bites. These no-bake treats are so easy! I came across my favorite recipe on Pinterest, but a quick search for “protein balls” or “energy bites” will reveal hundreds of ideas in a second. My usual ingredients include dry oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips, ground flaxseed, honey, Craisins, and vanilla. There are so many flavors out there to try, and they’re all pretty easy!

6. Healthy muffins. I have discovered a food blog that’s quite literally changed my life. BrenDid.com has tons of different healthy muffin recipes and I haven’t made one yet that my kids haven’t devoured. Almost all her muffin recipes are sugar free, oil free, and gluten free! Everything from pumpkin muffins to chocolate peanut butter muffins, even the plain oatmeal muffins (with any type of add-in you can think of) are a hit with my kids. We eat them for breakfast, or I send them in their lunches, or we snack on them. They’re whipped up in the blender and totally yummy!

7. Hummus. Easy to eat on veggies, chips, or pita, hummus is a versatile and delicious snack. If you’ve never tried your hand at making hummus, there are very few ingredients and all you do is toss them in your blender! I recommend trying a new hummus recipe (just get on Pinterest, y’all!) and even let your kids help you make it! (If your family usually likes Greek or Mediterranean food, try making some tzatziki, too!)

8. Apple cheddar toast. This may sound crazy, but one of the most delightful snacks is cheddar cheese melted on toast, with a (still cold) Granny Smith apple sliced on top. Savory and sweet, hot and cold, crunchy and melted cheese? Those are three winning combinations, not to mention healthy!

I hope I gave you a few new ideas for healthy snacks (or even lunches) to please the hungry brood at your house. What other suggestions do you have for healthy snacks?

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