After school can be a challenging time. Some kids are desperately hungry, others are worn out and grumpy. Parents need to arm themselves with some quick and easy ideas for after school snacks that will help children refuel to keep them going for the rest of the afternoon, whatever activity they may have on their plate.
There are a few things to keep in mind when organising after school snacks. You want to make sure to include the critical nutrients that will really nourish their bodies and put the pep back in their step – these include protein and good fats.
Protein is the essential fuel for your child’s growth – used by the body for just about everything. When paired with carbohydrates it regulates the uptake of sugar – providing a more even, sustaining energy source rather than a quick sugar rush. Some good proteins for after school include eggs, cheese, nuts and nut butters, meats and legumes such as chickpeas.
Saturated fats (animal or plant based) are important for many critical functions in the body and helps fill up your child between meals. Examples include full fat dairy, butter and coconut oil. Unsaturated fats from avocado, nuts and seeds are also wonderfully nourishing to growing bodies. Nut butters, cheese, avocado or yoghurt all tick this box.
Here’s a few ideas we’ve pulled together which make great after school snack options, many of which can be prepared ahead of time:
Smoothies are a great filling snack that can offer lots of energy into your child’s day, especially important for really active kids. Here are a couple of great recipes:
Vegetable Tasting Plate with Dip
Often kids are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables if they’re cut up and put in front of them, with a chance to choose which ones they might try. Create a tasty and colourful share plate of cut up fresh fruit and vegetables and pair it with a nutritious dip such as this one
Nuts and Seeds Trail Mix
Make up a trail mix in little containers for your kids to nibble on that include nuts, seeds, dried coconut and dried fruit. With many schools being ‘nut free’ these days, after school is a great opportunity for kids who don’t have an allergy to eat these highly nutritious and delicious whole foods. They are incredibly satisfying and a great source of healthy fats, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. If your child is nut free, options such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds are still incredibly nutritious and the perfect alternative.
Nut butter and apples
Another great way to enjoy nuts and seeds is with a delicious nut butter – spread it on some apple slices for a great snack. Here’s a recipe for a homemade seed butter
Nourishing sweet treats
For those parents with children partial to a sweet treat at afternoon tea, here are a few excellent recipes which still tick that “treat” box but are also nutritious and much more sustaining than your typical sugar laden store bought biscuit. A great plan of attack is to batch bake a couple of snacks on the weekend, and freeze them ready for after school (or even lunchboxes) during the week.