10 Healthy After-School Snacks

Healthy After-School Snacks

(HealthCastle.com) Are your children starving and asking for snacks after school? It may be quick and easy to pull out a bag of chips or cookies for them to munch on, but it isn't good for your children's health. Believe it or not, there are healthy after-school snacks, requiring little time and effort, that your children will actually enjoy.

10 Quick, Easy, and Healthy After-School Snacks

  1. Brown Rice cakes (unsalted or lightly salted)
    • Spread with natural peanut (or other nut) butter.
    • Top with reduced-fat natural cheese and/or lean meat.
  2. Fruit and Vegetables
    • Make them easy to grab: If appropriate, cut, chop, or slice fresh fruit and vegetables in advance and store in the refrigerator in easily accessible containers; store grapes in a large, open bowl in the fridge; store fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter.
    • Make vegetables more appealing by serving them with low-fat dip or salad dressing, or hummus. Or serve celery and carrot sticks (or baby carrots) with peanut butter and raisins.
    • Although fresh fruit is best, unsweetened applesauce or fruit canned in juice or extra-light syrup can be good options, especially when pressed for time.
  3. Baked Tortilla Chips and Salsa
    • Consider serving low-fat refried or whole beans in addition to salsa.
    • If you have time, make nachos by adding extras like melted reduced-fat cheese, diced tomatoes, green peppers, onion, low-fat sour cream, and guacamole.
  4. Whole Grain, Low-fat Crackers
    • Serve with reduced-fat natural cheese and/or lean meat. If using packaged meat, choose "natural" or "nitrite-free" varieties with minimal processing and preservatives, and those with less than 20% of the daily value for sodium.
    • Spread with natural peanut butter or reduced-fat cream cheese (plain or flavored).
  5. Hummus
    • Use as a dip or spread on pieces of whole wheat (or other whole grain) tortillas or pita pockets.
  6. Whole Wheat (or Other Whole Grain) Miniature Bagels
    • Top with reduced-fat natural cheese and/or lean meat.
    • Spread with jam, natural peanut (or other nut) butter, or plain or flavored reduced-fat cream cheese.
    • To add texture, toast the bagel.
    • If you have time, make miniature pizzas: Toast bagels first to prevent sogginess, then add spaghetti or pizza sauce, reduced-fat cheese, and toppings and bake briefly.
  7. Air-popped Popcorn or Low-fat Microwave Popcorn
    • Air-popped popcorn is the best and most tasty choice. Serve it plain or sprinkled with garlic powder, parmesan cheese, or other salt-free seasoning.
  8. Unsweetened Whole Grain Cereal and Low-fat Milk
    • Top with fresh fruit like blueberries, sliced bananas, or strawberries.
    • Add dried fruit like raisins or cranberries.
  9. Reduced-fat or light String Cheese
    • This is a good source of protein and calcium, and a great accompaniment to any snack. Try serving with fruit, vegetables, popcorn, or whole grain crackers.
  10. Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie
    • You have many options, so be creative and get your kids involved! Use low-fat vanilla or fruit-flavored yogurt or frozen yogurt as the base. Blend in fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit. Throw in ice cubes, if needed, to reach the desired consistency.
    • You can add a splash of low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice, depending upon the desired flavor and consistency.
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