Soothing after school hunger can be difficult for kid and parents alike! Kids often leave school ravenous, after a less than filling school lunch, and parents are often at a loss for snacks to fill these hungry bellies. The good news is that snacking is good for everyone—especially kids! Because children’s stomachs are so small, they might not be able to eat enough at meals to keep them full until their next one. Kids often need to eat every 2-3 hours to get in all the nutrients and calories they need to sustain adequate growth. Snacks also keep hunger at bay, improve concentration, and prevent over-eating at mealtimes. The key is to think of your kid’s after school snack as mini meals, and make them as nutritious as you can. Check out some of our favorite snacks below:
At Home Snacks:
- Mini Pita Pizza: Top a mini whole wheat pita with marinara sauce and 1 oz. of reduced fat mozzarella cheese. Heat until cheese is melted.
- Smoothie: Blend 1 cup of milk, ½ cup frozen berries, ½ frozen banana and 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds in a blender until smooth.
- Inside out sandwich: Wrap 1 slice low fat cheese and 2-3 turkey slices around whole wheat breadsticks. Serve with mustard or hummus on the side for dipping.
- Push Pops: Blend 1 cup of plain yogurt with 2 cups of frozen blueberries and 1-2 Tbsp of chia seeds until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.
- Banana “Ice Cream”: Freeze a ripe, peeled banana. Once slightly frozen, puree into “ice cream” and top with 1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
- Apple Sandwiches: Core a small apple and cut crosswise into ½ inch thick rounds. Spread 1 side of a slice with peanut butter, then sprinkled with granola, chopped nuts, raisins and/or unsweetened coconut. Top with additional apple slice and gently press down to make sandwiches.
- Carrots with Peanut Sauce: Mix 1 ½ Tbsp peanut butter, ½ Tbsp honey, a splash of soy sauce and 2 drops of sesame oil with a splash of warm water. Whisk until smooth and serve with sliced carrots.
On the Go Snacks:
- Whole grain crackers with 1 low fat string cheese
- Bottled yogurt smoothie (Siggis or Lifeway Kefir ProBug Smoothie) with 1-2 graham cracker sheets
- Seapoint Farms Edamame Snack Pack
- 75 oz package of The Good Bean Roasted Chickpeas
- Sliced bell pepper stripes with an individual container of hummus
- Banana Quesadilla: Spread one half of a small whole wheat tortilla with 2 tsp of peanut, almond or sunflower seed butter and top with banana slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Fold over and take to go.
- Trail Mix: On a weekend, set up containers of whole grain cereal, no sugar added dried fruit, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate chips and let kids assemble their own snack bags of trail mix to enjoy during the week.
Amanda Buthmann MS, RD is a pediatric and family nutritionist at Lara Metz Nutrition in NYC. For more information contact her at Amanda@larametznutrition.com, or visit http://larametznutrition.com/.