How to Prepare Healthy After School Snacks

Kids are usually tired and ravenous after a long day at school. Prepare healthy after-school snacks to have on hand that will give a wholesome boost of energy but won't ruin dinner. You'll be helping to form healthy eating habits so your kids naturally turn to food that's good for them instead of junk food.


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    Plan ahead for the week when shopping and make a list. Vary the kinds of things that you purchase; buy some items that can be made ahead of time and stored, along with other foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, which may need to be eaten in a few days.
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    Serve a variety of healthy choices of foods that include grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and proteins. Mix and match foods from each food group for well-rounded, nutritious snacks.
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    Provide grains by using whole wheat crackers and breads to make snacks with and serve with low-fat cheese or whole fruit spreads. Fill whole grain tortillas with just about anything your child likes for a quick snack. Try lean meats and cheeses with lettuce and tomatoes, or almond butter with fresh fruit slices. Roll into a tight wrap and enjoy.
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    Wash, peel and store vegetables in airtight containers when you bring them home from the store so that you can grab them to make a quick snack during the week. Make a veggie tray with fresh broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, cucumbers, pickles or other vegetables that your child likes and serve with their favorite hummus or other low-fat dip. Try baked sweet potato fries served with low-fat sour cream. Serve salsa or guacamole, which contain a whole serving of vegetables, with whole grain, baked tortilla chips.
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    Buy fruits that are fresh and firm, not overripe, or you will likely end up throwing them out. Make a fruit salad with your child's favorite fruits and store it in an airtight container to snack on through the week. Try naturally sweetened, dried fruits like raisins, apricots and cranberries and mix with popcorn, whole grain crackers, granola or nuts for a snack that will satisfy a sweet craving.
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    Make a dairy rich snack by removing the lid and placing clean popsicle sticks in yogurt containers. Freeze for a healthy alternative to ice cream and sugary popsicles. Dip whole grain animal or graham crackers in pudding made with milk for a fun treat.
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    Get a serving of protein by dipping apple or pear slices in peanut butter. Cut up different kinds of low-fat cheeses and lean deli meats for an easy snack. Hard-boil eggs to serve with small salads or slice and eat.
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    Serve drinks that are not full of sugar or empty calories with after-school snacks. Try water with lemon or orange slices. Dilute fruit juices with seltzer water and serve chilled. Mix 6 to 8 oz. of warmed, low-fat or fat-free milk with 1 or 2 tbs. of antioxidant rich cocoa powder and pure molasses (to taste) for a calcium-rich hot chocolate. Stir or whisk thoroughly until cocoa powder is evenly distributed and mixture is creamy.


  • Let your child help make the grocery list by writing down or telling you what healthy options are their favorites. Think about new foods they would like to try also, and see if the supermarket has them the next time you go shopping together.
  • Introduce new foods by sneaking them into after-school snacks. Pair items that your child likes with something different, for example, if your child loves peanut butter and jelly, try spreading peanut butter on no-sugar-added rice cakes.
  • Avoid buying most pre-packaged snacks since these are usually costly and you can probably make a healthier, inexpensive version at home. For instance, let kids make their own trail mix by filling a large bowl with their favorite items. Try things like chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, whole grain cereal clusters and yogurt-covered raisins. Distribute the mix in small baggies or sealable containers for a portion-controlled snack on the go.

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Categories: Cooking for Children | Meal Planning