Healthier After-School Snacks

By Colleen Hurley, RD & Certified Kids' Nutrition Specialist for GalTime.com

After-school snacks just got a WHOLE lot healthier! After-school snacks just got a WHOLE lot healthier! getting kids to eat healthier

Snacks not only can help curb hunger but can also make sure your family gets their daily dose of fruits and vegetables.
Healthy snacks are particularly important for little ones because their tummies are tiny and often prefer to 'graze' throughout the day.

Aim for variety, as healthy as possible, and make sure the snack doesn't become a meal.

While calorie counting isn't really appropriate for toddlers, there are a few snack rules that can be applied to everyone in the house as snacks should be:

  • Nutrient dense vs. calorie dense

  • Have zero trans fats

  • Satisfying

  • Be low in saturated fat

  • Taste good

  • Able to be taken on-the-go

To help boost kids' snacking, here are some snack ideas from the food groups. You can use this table to mix and match selecting 1 food from 1-2 (no more than 3 or else it's a meal) groups for a hearty, healthy snack.

Related: Functional & Healthy Foods-For Busy Families

Grain Group Snacks

  • ½ cup whole grain cereal

  • Mini rice cakes

  • Air popped popcorn

  • Corn tortilla

  • Oatmeal

  • Frozen whole grain waffle

  • Whole grain crackers

  • Whole grain slice of bread

    Fruit Snacks

    • ¼ cup dried fruit or raisins

    • Apple or pear slices

    • ½ cup frozen berries blended into a smoothie

    • Wedge of watermelon or cantaloupe

    • Fresh berries

    • 1 small piece of fruit

    • ½ a medium banana

    • Grapes (try them frozen in the summer)

    • Pineapple chunks

      Veggie Snacks

      • Sliced cucumber or bell peppers

      • Celery or carrot sticks

      • Cherry tomatoes

      • Lettuce leaves (for wrapping and topping sandwiches)

      • Mashed avocado or guacamole

      • Tomato slices

      • Blanched broccoli or cauliflower

      • Kale 'chips'

        Dairy/Calcium Group

        • 1 cup low-fat milk, or fortified soy or almond milk

        • 1 String cheese

        • 1 ounce cheese cube

        • ½ cup low fat cottage cheese

        • 6 oz yogurt or non-dairy yogurt (watch the sugar content, should be

        Meat/Bean Group Snacks

        • 1-2 tablespoons hummus or bean dip

        • Nut butters: almond, peanut, sunflower seed, or cashew

        • 1 hard-boiled egg

        • Pea soup

        • A few slices lean turkey or ham

        • Small handful of nuts: almonds (calcium rich), pistachios, walnuts, or cashews

        • Small handful of sunflower seeds

        Related: 3 Ways to Fuel Your Kids for Sports


        Put It All Together

        Now you can have fun making some balanced snacking combinations. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

        • Ants on a log: spread nut butter on celery stick then top with raisins

        • Corn tortilla with black bean dip or avocado

        • Frozen whole-grain waffle topped with banana or berries

        • Hummus on a rice cake, slice of bread, or crackers topped with cucumber or tomato slices

        • Apple slices dipped in nut butter

        • Spread nut butter on banana, and roll in mashed cereal or granola

        • Fruit kebabs: use a kabob stick and fill with chunks of fresh fruit

        • Raw veggie slices in plain yogurt, bean dip, or hummus

        • Pineapple chunks and cottage cheese

        • Roll up slices of turkey or ham in leaf lettuce

        • Trail mix with dried fruit, nuts, and cereal

        • String cheese and cherry tomatoes

        • Pea soup and crackers

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