Healthy After-School Snack Ideas from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care

healthy-after-school-snack-ideasIf your kids’ after-school routine consists of walking through the door, ditching their backpacks, and making a beeline for the kitchen to stave off their mid-afternoon hunger, you’re not alone. All young children need frequent snacks to fill nutritional gaps and help them grow properly. Plus, it’s not surprising that they’re ravenous when they get off the bus, because many kids are scheduled for lunch well before noon and, between afternoon classes and after-school activities, they may not have another chance to eat until they get home. As a parent, there are steps you can take to guide them toward nutritious and satisfying snacks that still leave room for dinner.

The key to eating healthy is having nutritious choices readily available. Talk to your children about their food preferences, involve them in the decision-making, and try to make healthy eating appealing and fun. When you’re grocery shopping, don’t purchase cookies, candies, ice cream, sodas, chips, and the like. If you eliminate unhealthy items from your household, your children won’t be able to snack on them. Think about it: no child is going to take the time to cut up vegetables when they’re hungry and there’s a bag of chips beckoning them from the shelf.

To make it easy for your kids to eat well, be sure to always have some nutritious options clearly visible and within easy reach at home, and also pack some for them to take to school. Here are a few ideas:

  • Easily packable snacks include dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, granola bars, yogurt, and pretzels.

  • Young children may enjoy apples, hard-boiled eggs, low-sugar cereal, and cheese cubes, or try celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter and topped with raisins.

  • Teens might prefer to put together their own snacks – such as smoothies, veggies and hummus, baked potatoes with salsa, or cheese with whole grain crackers – if you have all of the ingredients on hand.

  • If it’s close to dinner time but the kids just can’t wait, serve them a first course of salad or vegetables to stave off their hunger pangs.

It’s also important to set a good example. If your children see you constantly munching on processed foods, you’ll undermine the message you are trying to send, so be sure to lead as you would have them follow. Keep in mind that wise after-school snack choices can go a long way toward helping your children establish healthy eating habits for life.

Contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic today if you have questions or would like further information about family health and wellness. You may also find our online series of health articles helpful.