It’s a long time to go without eating anything between lunch and dinner for active kids. A healthy, tasty after-school snack is the perfect way to help kids keep their blood sugar levels better regulated, provide them the fuel they need for their activities, and prevent the dinnertime hunger that leads to overeating.
Fruit and Cheese
Combine favorites like apples and cheese, berries and cottage cheese or pears and string cheese. Fruit and cheese provides a good balance of carbs and protein, gives your kids a natural sugar source and provides your child important micronutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants.
Serve moist, crunchy, tasty veggie wraps with Flatout flatbread stuffed with a variety of items like romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, sliced radishes, avocado wedges, sliced tomatoes or any other veggies your kids love. Add a bit of creamy, low-fat dressing or some shredded cheese for protein.
Make a Tex-Mex treat with tacos filled with shredded lettuce and cheese, diced tomatoes and onions, guacamole and salsa. For a burrito, add some refried beans and Mexican rice.
Everyone knows that kids love peanut butter. Fortunately, it’s also a good source of protein and healthy fats. Have your kids try other nut butters, including almond butter, which provides more nutrients than peanut butter.
Almond butter has more dietary fiber, minerals, vitamin E and healthy fats than peanut butter, and is also a great choice for kids who have peanut allergies (check with your doctor first to make sure other nuts are OK if your child has a peanut allergy). Serve nut butters with baked, whole grain crackers. If you don’t have crackers, spread some nut butter on apple or celery slices.
Trail Mix or Granola
Chewy, crunchy, salty, sweet – what more can you ask for in a snack? Combine a variety of nuts, dried fruit, chocolate pieces, popcorn, broken baked pretzels and other goodies to make a healthy trail mix. Avoid ingredients made with processed sugar and carbs. Dried apricots, cranberries, dates and grape (aka raisins) add sweet chewiness to trail mix. A healthy granola bar with a glass of milk provides plenty of calories, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Yogurt and Nuts
A sweet, creamy cup of yogurt with some crushed walnuts or almonds is a tasty, crunchy, filling treat for kids on the go. Read the label on yogurt cups to avoid excess sugar and processed ingredients.
Watch the Fruit Drinks!
Fruit drinks are packed with sugar, even 100 percent juice and all-natural brands. That’s because fruit has natural sucrose (which makes it sweet). Buy healthy fruit juices but give your kids small servings, or dilute the juice with water. Definitely avoid sports drinks – kids don’t need them if they are not sweating during long sports activities.