After-school snacks that won't ruin dinner

September 19, 2016 | by Alanna Elliott, RD, LDN

One of the first things kids want to do when they get home from school is relax.

Then, they want to eat.

Considering it may have been hours since they ate lunch, their hunger makes sense.

If you’re planning a healthy family dinner, you don’t want the after-school snack to deflate their appetite.

Making them wait for dinner, however, could lead to hanger and overeating. Snacking is okay, and healthy food helps fight obesity by keeping their hunger at bay.

There are quick, easy snack options that will help them power through homework or chores until dinnertime. These tips will help guide you in a healthy direction:

  • Make it easy. Prep healthy snacks and store them in a handy place. Your child will be more likely to grab something ready to eat than take the time to cut fruit or veggies.
  • Provide options. Kids may not feel like having the same snack every afternoon. Offer fruit with nut butter. Have 6-inch whole-wheat tortillas and low-fat cheese handy for a quick mini quesadilla or a wrap. Have natural popcorn in the cupboard (like Skinny pop or make your own air popped). Slice veggies and serve with low calorie dip, or make a healthy trail mix over the weekend so they’re ready to go. Try healthy homemade granola bars for a fiber filled snack or a hardboiled egg for some added protein.
  • Make snacks out of their favorite (healthy) foods. Get them involved in the preparation, and let them put their own snacks together after school. If it’s their own concoction, they’re more likely to eat it! Dip, for example, changes everything. A kid who dislikes beans or carrots will likely scarf them down with a side of low-fat ranch dip or hummus.
  • Make sure they’re not thirsty. Sometimes thirst can make people think their hungry. Give kids a tall glass of ice water when they get home, and then see how hungry they feel. Avoid sugary drinks such as pop, lemonade and juice. These don’t quench kid’s thirst as well as water, plus they can add extra unwanted calories!
  • Check their lunch bags. Did they eat everything or bring home leftovers? Gauge whether they’re eating enough during the day if they seem ravenous after school.
  • It’s snack time – not treat time. Save the cookies, candy and popsicles for after dinner or special occasions.

Try these recipes for after-school snacks:

Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

Ingredients

  • 6 oz nonfat or low fat vanilla Greek yogurt (try Dannon light n’ fit Greek or Siggi’s)
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries, slightly thawed (or fresh)
  • ¼ frozen strawberries, slightly thawed (or fresh)
  • 1 tbsp granola or crunchy cereal

Instructions

Add ½ of yogurt to a small cup or bowl, layer with strawberries, remainder of yogurt, and top with blueberries and granola/cereal. 

Healthy Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 cup rolled old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 egg whites

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 305 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl combine oats, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, and pumpkin pie spice. Add honey, pumpkin puree, and egg whites. Stir until fully combined.
3. Drop large spoonful scoops of the mixture onto a cookie sheet and flatten (they won't spread while baking).  Bake for about 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
4. Let cool on baking sheet before moving to an airtight storage container.

Apple “Cookies”

Makes 8 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 large apple
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Slice apple into thing rings and remove core. Spread peanut butter over one side of ring. Top with almonds and chocolate chips.

Grilled Cheese Roll Ups

Ingredients

  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread, crust removed
  • 1 slice low-fat cheese (like mozzarella or cheddar)
  • 1 tsp melted vegetable oil spread (like Earthbalance or Smartbalance)

Instructions

1. Using a rolling pin, roll slice of bread flat.
2. Place one slice of cheese (or 2­3 tablespoons grated cheese). Roll up bread & cheese (secure with a toothpick if desired).
3. Brush the outside with melted vegetable oil spread and place in a pan over medium heat.
4. Turn with tongs until all sides are browned and cheese is melted.

If you’re ready to take charge of your health, Edward-Elmhurst Health is ready to help. We can help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

 

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