When your child gets home from school, the chances are that they’ll be starving. If they’re anything like my own children, they’ll have barely touched their lunch, ran around all day, and be on the verge of a meltdown because they’re tired and hungry.
Before you let them go and play, having them eat a healthy and nutritious snack is highly recommended. You don’t even have to wait till they get home. With my younger children I know that they need food as soon as they are picked up, so I have snacks ready to go when they get in the car. The same can easily apply for older children, and most of them will devour it before you get home.
While you don’t want them to be too full for dinner, there’s normally around 2-3 hours before dinnertime so don’t be afraid to fill them up. As long as what they are eating is healthy and nutritious you should be fine. Try to avoid letting them fill up on junk food and snacks with little or no nutritional value.
Some really simple healthy and nutritious after school snack ideas include:
- Cut up vegetables with hummus or guacamole
Store bought hummus is generally quite healthy with very few (if any) additives, or you can easily make your own. I really love this homemade hummus recipe from Jamie Oliver.
- Rice crackers with nut spreads, avocado or tuna
For healthier options try to choose tuna in spring water and nut spreads with a lower sugar content. If you wanted to make your own healthy nut spread, then this recipe is easy.
- Homemade mini pizzas using tortillas or wraps
Kids love making these and they freeze really well. We like making them together in bulk on the weekends and freezing for later. We use tomato paste, a bit of cheese, and their choice of toppings. Buy or make wholemeal bases for an even healthier option.
- Wraps and sandwiches made with wholemeal bread
By switching from white bread or wraps to wholemeal, you are instantly increasing the amount of nutrients in the snack, and lowering the glycaemic index, meaning they will feel full for longer.
- Oven baked sweet potato chips
These are always a hit with the older kids, and they are perfect served with some salsa, hummus or guacamole. The best thing is that they are easy to make.
- Smoothies with fruit, milk or yoghurt and honey
Smoothies are a great way to pack lots of fruit into one meal. Simply add half a glass of milk, a handful of ice and your choice or fruit to the blender. Mix it up by substituting the milk for yoghurt or using a little honey for sweetness. I turn any leftovers into ice blocks (simply pour into ice block moulds and freeze – easy!) which are perfect for those hot afternoons.
- Fruit with Greek Yoghurt
By adding the greek yoghurt, it gives the fruit that extra kick of protein, and keeps them full for longer. Serve it with a dash of honey for some natural sweetness.
- Savoury muffins
There are so many great savoury muffin recipes out there (this is our favourite one) and they are great to eat in the car on the way home. This is another meal that you can make in bulk and freeze. They’re also great in lunch boxes.
I hope we’ve given you some simple ideas to keep the after school snacks healthy and nutritious. Make sure you also check out our tips for packing a healthy lunch box.
Thanks to Carol from My Bored Toddler for sharing her tips with us. Carol is an Australian Teacher and the proud mum of two toddlers who have LOTS of energy.