Want ideas for an after-school snack? We have everything covered. The healthiest choices are listed here
A snack can provide kids with the energy they need to get through schoolwork and extracurricular activities after a demanding school day. But the majority of the snacks that kids in America eat are low in nutrition and heavy in added sugar.
For kids to acquire the appropriate amount of nutrients each day, they must snack. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that younger children should have two or more snacks per day. If older children engage in physical activity, they should have one snack, if not more.
However, there are other healthy and entertaining snack options that you may give your child in addition to chips and candy.
What makes a healthy snack?
To make a filling snack, you need a few ingredients. Although simple carbs only release short bursts of glucose into the bloodstream, they breakdown fast, so kids could be tempted to reach for a bag of Cheetos. They’ll get a kick, but you might start feeling peckish earlier. They will feel fuller for longer if you pair a carb with a protein or fat source.
Including at least two of the major food groups is another smart guideline, according to registered dietitian Rose Britt of Top Nutrition Coaching.
During snack time, Britt says, “we’re getting some different nutrients within those food groups.” “It’s also a great chance to get that serving of fruits and vegetables for our vitamins and fibre.”
However, it’s crucial to make snack time fun, especially for young children. According to Britt, parents of finicky eaters might have to select their battles.
Snacking shouldn’t be a pain; ideally, it should be enjoyable and healthful as well, according to Britt.
Occasionally switching up your snack can also be beneficial. “Sensory-specific satiety” can develop from eating the same thing every day, registered dietitian Abbey Sharp previously told USA TODAY. You feel like you’ve eaten your snack too often when you experience this emotion. It is possible to keep snack time fun for both parents and children by introducing fresh snacks on a daily or weekly basis.
What are the healthiest after-school snacks for kids?
Similar to how breakfast is crucial for a positive start to the school day, an after-school snack can give you energy for your homework and afternoon activities.
While processed, premade snacks like cookies or a bag of chips may seem appetising, Britt advises considering your after-school snack to be a “mini meal” in order to enjoy a more filling and healthful pleasure.
Healthiest after-school snacks for kids in sports
You should carry something that will provide your youngster with a short boost before their workout if they are munching before athletics. Even though simple carbohydrates don’t provide you a full feeling for very long, they work well here.
“Those different food groups and fibre are actually not what we want right before a workout because they can be harder for their stomach to digest,” advises Britt.
This could be a fruit, such as a banana, crackers, or a bagel.
However, following the exercise, your child will be craving a high-protein, high-carb snack. These snacks offer a source of energy to replace the energy that was just used up by the muscles and aid in their recovery.
Britt suggests chocolate milk since it tastes good and contains sugar, protein, and carbohydrates.
These additional choices also work nicely as a post-practice snack:
Smoothie (try these wholesome recipes)
Peanut butter and apples
Mixture of trails
Crackers and cheese
The healthiest snacks for finicky eaters after school
Choose a snack that has at least two food groups if your child is fussy or you’re concerned about what they’re eating at lunch. This will guarantee your child eats a mini-meal that is diverse in terms of nutrients.
Here are few instances:
Pita chips paired with avocado ranch
Pita chips paired with hummus
Fruit and yoghurt
Beef jerky and cheese sticks
Peanut butter and apples
Peanut butter with celery
Crackers and cheese
Another innovative option is to involve your child in the preparation and planning stages. Consider creating a snack charcuterie board by arranging tiny pieces such as cheese, fruit, crackers, salami, pepperoni, and other cutlery in a creative way on a plate or cutting board.
A pizza melt is another childhood favourite that Britt suggests. This can be made with toast, English muffins, tortillas, or bagel slices. Toss in the sauce, cheese, and garnishes, then bake or air fry it until the cheese is melted.
Parents can also add some flair to a snack to help kids who might benefit from a little additional calories or nutrition. Britt suggests researching bean chips, such as chickpea, pea, or black bean tortilla chips. If they have a preference for yoghurt, try to find a high-protein variety such as Greek or full-fat whole-milk yoghurt.
The healthiest snacks for focus and mood after school
In addition to promoting mental well-being, food can aid in concentration in extracurricular activities and academic pursuits.
Studies have shown that regular intake of magnesium, vitamin D, and B vitamins can enhance mental health. Fish, fruits, leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains are the healthiest foods for mental health, according to the American Psychiatric Association and the American Society for Nutrition.
To obtain your vitamins and minerals without tasting like spinach or kale, try adding these dark leafy greens to smoothies or muffins.
Additionally, dark chocolate is a great accompaniment to snacks. In addition to being delicious, it has a lot of antioxidants and may lift your spirits, according to a 2022 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Another option is a trail mix, which mixes dried fruit, almonds, and chocolate—three items known to improve happiness.
Try tuna salad on crackers if your kid is a fish lover. One of the greatest sources of omega-3 fats, which are linked to heart health and mood enhancement, is tuna. Based upon data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a study concluded that over 95% of children do not get the daily necessary dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia seeds can be added to homemade granola bars and energy bites, or they can be found in pre-made items like fruit squeezes, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Discover more health tips for your daily diet:
Healthiest fruit: This one has cognitive and cardiovascular benefits
Healthiest nut: Add these two daily for cognitive benefits and more
Healthiest cereal: Inside the nutritional info on the back of the box
Healthiest lunch:Use this guide for a foolproof healthy meal
Healthiest options for picky eaters:Check out these nutritious foods
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