Afterschool Snack Tips for Your Kids
By Sara Butler
When your child comes home from school, chances are they’re famished! It’s almost as if they haven’t been fed all day. You know they have (you sent that lunch with them and gave them breakfast) but you can’t deny your child a nutritious afterschool snack. Though what you feed them at this point is crucial; you don’t want to fill them with junk before dinner. Here are a few tips to help you make good snack choices for your child after school.
Don’t Make It a Treat
A snack and a treat are not the same thing, but the two ideas often get intertwined. A snack should serve as a smaller version of a nutrient rich food or combination of foods to keep them satisfied until dinner. So, no high sugar items such as granola bars or cookies for a snack. Instead, make your own granola bars or a piece of fruit.
Count Food Groups
You really shouldn’t be too concerned about calorie counts when it comes to snacks. Instead, focus on the food groups. Try to work in two to three food groups during snack time. So, pair yogurt and strawberries or apples and almond butter for a winning snack time combination. You’ll make sure to cover all the nutritional bases that way.
Forget the Packaged Snacks
Your best bet for snack time is always going to be whole foods, not processed, pre-packaged foods. Always aim for the less processed snack and skip out on trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, fillers, and artificial colors and flavors.
Stick to What Works
Kids can be a bit predictable so use that to your advantage. If you find a snack that’s a hit in your household, then stick with it! You also aren’t a short order cook, so if you find something that pleases a crowd, then ride that snack wave as long as you can. A few ideas that are usually crowd pleasers include things such as smoothies, chips and dip (think hummus or guacamole), or muffins.
Kids need at least three servings of vegetables per day. If you’re not sure they’re getting what they need, then snack time is the perfect time to incorporate some vegetables! Plus, if they eat vegetables at snack time, then you don’t have to nag them at dinner. Sweet potato fries, kale chips, or carrots with dip make a great snack. Salsa works too!
There's no doubt kids need fuel after school. How you fuel them is the question you should answer!
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