After a long day most kids will come home and be on the scrounge for some tasty after school snacks. While a plate of cookies and a glass of milk may be the oldest snack around, this tradition has now been dropped in favor of more healthy options.
Healthy eating for kids is not just about the meals they eat, but also those all important snacks that every child looks forward too.
Dealing with Fussy Eaters – Healthy Eating for Kids Tips
If Your Child Feels in Control, He or She Is More Likely to Try out New Foods
According to a cooperative extension by the University of Maryland, children are usually hungry after a long day at school.
Because they are so hungry you may find your child is more open to trying new foods. In other words, take advantage of his rumbling tummy by offering him healthy after school snacks he may not have tried before.
Don’t go over board though, healthy eating for kids is not about forcing them to eat things they genuinely dislike. Instead, offer your children foods they may have said they don’t like but have never actually tried.
For example, my son insisted on several occasions that he hated kiwi fruit with a passion. I was fairly sure he had never actually tried one, but was instead put off by the fruit’s less than pretty appearance.
I really wanted him to try the fruit because kiwi is known for packing a nutrient punch, containing a good amount of vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus.
The fruit is also a perfect replacement for sugary snacks because it is sweet to the taste.
Here is my tip regarding trying out healthy food for kids:
If your child is fussy, offer then a mouthful of several different foods until you find something they like.
Conquering fussiness is all about letting your child feel in control!
My List of Easy After School Snacks Recipes
The Key Ingredient in These Fun Snacks for Kids – Fun!!
You can probably get your child to try pretty much anything, within reason, if you make it fun enough for them.
While my toddler is happy to demolish a tasty snack shaped like a face, I’m sure that with older kids we have to think of other ideas to capture their attention 😉
Mmmmmm Pita that Packs a Punch! Tasty Snacks for Older Children
I managed to incorporate my son’s two favorite foods into one of the fun snacks for kids I made by filling mini wholegrain pita breads, with creme cheese and pear slices or chunks.
Easy, yet tasty this is an example of after school snacks that older children can put together themselves.
Exciting Egg Boats in a Sea of Green- Quick Homemade Snacks for Toddlers
Here is what you need: Eggs (obviously) :-), cheese, a bell pepper, tomato and salad (tomato and salad are not necessary, but adds the final fun touch).
- Cut a couple of hard-boiled eggs into wedges
- Top each one off with a low-fat cheese sail, bell pepper sail or salat sail and you have your very own eggy boats.
- If you want to make a really fancy presentation of them, let the egg boats sail on a large salat leaf and add a tomato as a buoy.
Okay so these may be more fun snacks for preschoolers than older kids but you will be surprised.
Plus, as I have already mentioned, kids will try pretty much anything if they are hungry enough.
Scrumptious Smoothie – A Vicious Vitamin Booster as Easy After School Snacks
My son is a big smoothie fan, which suits me fine as this is one of the healthy after school snacks where I can get in plenty of fruit and even vegetables.
- Add pear, apple, melon, kiwi, carrot, pineapple and strawberries to your smoothie maker and stir in a medium-sized pot of natural yogurt.
- Whiz it all together until you have your desired consistency
- Serve in glasses with ice cubes.
Much better for your children than the traditional glass of milk and plate of cookies.
Fruit Soup Anyone?
In the past I had used soup, chicken and tomato being favorites, to hide a multitude of vegetables my kid would not have touched ordinarily.
While considering how I could incorporate kiwi fruit into my children’s healthy after school snacks, I thought why not try a fruit soup!
Here is what I came up with, there is no cooking involved at all.
- Blend together kiwi fruit, strawberries, blueberries, melon and apple in an electric blender or smoothie maker until you have a soup texture. The water from the melon and apple will mean it is a perfect soup consistency.
- Add a pinch of tarragon and stir with a spoon before serving in bowls.
My kid loves this particular after school snack and it is so easy to make, you can even make a batch in advance and freeze it – simply defrosting on the day of use.
The best thing about this healthy after school snack recipe is it is full of vitamins and nutrients.
My son may still believe he dislikes kiwi fruit but I know different. The potential health benefits from eating kiwi on a regular basis include a reduced risk of asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
Healthy After School Snacks and the Stubborn Older Child
According to the Kids Health website, children actually need more snacks as they get older than they do as a young child because of their more active lifestyle.
While your child is likely to experience hunger around about mid-morning – they will be at their most hungry at the end of the school day, making healthy after school snacks all the more important.
However, as your child gets older and more independent – usually when they hit their teens it becomes harder to impress on them the importance of healthy eating for kids. Your child will probably want to be like their friends who may visit a fast food outlet after school or who may stock up on sugary treats at the grocery store.
Empower Your Teen by Accepting Negotiation and Pouring in Some Education
According to Maryland University, one advantage when it comes to offering your older child healthy snacks is the fact you can negotiate and educate.
Children are never too young to learn the importance of establishing a healthy eating routine and with an older child, you can explain how much better healthy after school snacks are for them compared to the sugar-laden fatty alternatives.
While my son likes his candy and other sweet treats, he is also very into his sports, which have maybe helped him focus on the importance of healthy eating for kids more than others his age would.
While eggy boats and ants on a log may not raise a smile in your teen, there are plenty of healthy after school snacks they should snap up without complaint.
A List of Healthy Snacks That Might Just Turn into Teen Faves
Tasty Pita and Cheese – an Example of Quick Homemade Snacks
Simply fill a small, wholegrain pita with melted low-fat cheese, chopped tomatoes, bell peppers and garlic to add a tasty and colourful salsa and you have a fast, easy snack your teen will love.
The fresh chopped garlic gives the pita a really nice kick!
Non-Salty Crackers with Cheese’n Chive
My son loves crackers, which he usually has with an apple and cheese dip or simple cream cheese mixed with chive.
It literally takes seconds to make it is one of the healthy after school snacks I reserve for days when I know I am going to be pushed for time.
My tip regarding healthy food for kids:
Healthy eating for kids is also about watching out for things that may be essential to a balanced diet but not in large amounts.
For example, my kid have unsalted pretzels because, while sodium is a dietary requirement, you do have to watch the salt intake of children especially those under the age of three.
My Tips to Encourage Healthy Eating for Kids and Enjoy Nutritious After School Snacks
Tips No. 1: Put Down Your Foot – Healthy After School Snacks Means No to Soda
According to a Children’s Web MD article , soda is particularly bad for children because it contains so much sugar and doesn’t fill them up.
In fact, many sodas can leave a child feeling hungry as the sugar causes the body’s insulin to increase and fall rapidly.
The website even goes on to say that sodas and other sweetened drinks are among the most common causes of weight issues in children today.
Therefore, with your kid’s healthy after school snacks, you should offer a fruit juice drink instead of soda.
Maryland University advises parents go for 100-percent fruit juice drinks. Healthy eating for kids encapsulates more than just food, so it is important your kids avoid sugary drinks too.
Pure fruit juices may be a rich source of vitamins and minerals but they are also pretty high in calories.
Therefore, your child should have no more than 12-ounces of juice per day. This works out roughly to one average-sized glass.
Tip No. 2: Overcome the Mental Trial – Turn Healthy Eating for Kids into an Exciting Challenge
Most parents of older children will be able to relate to their child’s reluctance to try something that has been labelled as healthy – regardless of whether they like it or not.
My son is convinced that healthy eating means giving up tasty snacks all together and just eating “rabbit food”.
Therefore, you may find getting your child to swap the usual cookies, chips or muffins for healthy after school snacks something of a challenge.
Of course, any food can get boring when you eat it too many times, so don’t be disheartened if your children are showing signs of reluctance. Instead, see it as a challenge, a goal for you to prove that healthy eating for kids can be fun and tasty.
Tip No. 3: The Delicate Organization of Portion Size and Timing – How Much is Too Much When it Comes to Healthy After School Snacks?
Like most people, I used to think that because my children were eating relatively healthy food, they could eat as much as they wanted or liked. This is not the case!
In fact, it is just as important to pay attention to your children’s portion size, as it is to choose carefully what your children eat.
After school snacks should only take the edge off your child’s hunger, they shouldn’t completely fill them up.
It is important your children’s healthy after school snacks do not take away their appetite for one of their main meals – which in this case would be dinner.
According to the National Health Service website, Change4Life Children who adhere to a regular snack routine with appropriate portion control are less likely to overeat on the whole. This is because their bodies are trained into knowing that food is always available, making eating between meals and snacks much less likely.
Tip No. 4: Support Your Child’s Growing Sense of Autonomy – Let the Kids Have a Say in Their Tasty Snacks
All kids like to feel like their opinions, thoughts and ideas mean something and they are even more likely to eat something they have dreamed up.
It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, my toddler even has a say in what snacks he wants to eat – even though he dreams up some wacky concoctions.
Tips No. 5: Prepare Some Easy After School Snacks for When Your Kids are Home Alone
If your children are older and come home from school while you are still at work or out of the home, you can still offer them healthy after school snacks. Simply prepare something healthy before you leave the home, the night before is okay if you’re pushed for time and leave in the fridge for your kids to help themselves when they get home.
Leaving healthy snacks where they are readily available for hungry kids will reduce the chances of them eating something less appropriate.
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