Healthy After School Snacks

A new school year started up this week in Northwest Arkansas. From picking out school supplies to meeting new teachers and making new friends, the back to school season is always an exciting time for kids.

But all of that excitement can work up an appetite, especially after a long day at school! This school year, don’t stock your cupboards with Doritos and Ding Dongs. Make sure that you have healthy snacks in the house for your kids to enjoy after school.

One way to help your kids eat healthy snacks after school is by making those snacks easily accessible. A lot of snacks don’t require any preparation, but there are some that do. Prepare snacks to make snack time easy for your kids, especially if they are younger. No child is going to come home from school and fire up the grill to make some chicken bites or whip out the kitchen knives to slice up some veggies, and you probably don’t want them doing that anyway.

Here are some ideas for healthy after school snacks.

Fruit is a must. Apples, bananas, and berries are quick and easy options that don’t require any preparation. You can also take the time to chop up some melon into bite-size chunks. Prepare the melon in the morning and keep it fresh and cool in a container in the fridge. Frozen fruit is a refreshing and healthy alternative to ice cream and ice pops.

You can’t talk about fruit without bringing veggies into the mix. Baby carrots are a snack time classic, and cherry tomatoes are fun, easy, and mess-free. Try cutting celery stalks into 4 inch sections to be eaten plain or dip them in hummus or peanut butter.

Peanut butter is another after-school snacking staple. Peanut butter sandwiches or tortilla wraps with peanut butter and bananas make for a hearty afternoon snack. You can also use peanut butter as a dip or a spread for fruits and vegetables. If your child is allergic to peanut butter or if the school is peanut free, try sun butter (made of sunflower seeds) instead.

Speaking of nuts, unsalted almonds, cashews, peanuts, or walnuts are wonderful healthy snacks that require no prep or clean up.

Plain popcorn without butter or salt is a healthy alternative to chips if you’re looking for a snack that your kids can munch on. Air-popped kernels are low in fat and high in fiber. You can store popped popcorn in a sealed container for up to a week.

Bake some healthy muffins in the morning for an after school snack when your kids get home. Add some fruit, nuts, maybe some applesauce or honey instead of sugar, and you’ve got a fairly nutritious snack.

Cook up some chicken and store it in the refrigerator for a microwavable snack that’s high in lean protein. Lightly seasoned, grilled or baked chicken is a healthier option than sodium-packed frozen chicken nuggets.