"I'm hungry!" This is the refrain I hear every day when I pick up my three kids from school. Sound familiar? It doesn't matter if I've packed a 12-course meal in their Planetbox or sent them to school with peanuts, they are "starving" every afternoon at 3. The solution? The perfect snack equation.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the ideal after school snack should meet the following requirements:
- Make them small. Snacks are meant to fill the gap between meals, not become a whole meal in itself.
- Protein + carb. Pair a protein-rich food with a carb-rich food. Including a healthy fat will quiet hunger pangs even more.
- One or two a day. Depending on the child’s age and activity level, they may need one or two snacks a day.
Here are 10 examples of health after school fuel snacks:
- Whole wheat toast + avocado + cucumber slices
- Apple slices + nut/seed butter
- Homemade trail mix - ¼ cup sunflower seeds or nuts, ¼ cup dried apricots, cherries, or raisins (with no added sugar)
- String cheese + grapes
- Greek yogurt + granola + frozen berries thawed
- Nut/seed butter spread on a small whole-wheat pita
- Carrot sticks or sliced veggies + hummus
- Rice cakes + nut butter + berries
- Smoothie with kale, banana, Greek yogurt, + blueberries
- Whole-wheat pita + guacamole + cucumber slices
And don't forget water! Keeping kids hydrated is vital for keeping them ready for physical activities, helping them stay focused on homework, and balancing their moods. While the amount of water will vary based on your child's age, gender, size and activity level, the National Academy of Sciences recommends between 7-14 cups of water per day, with the lower end for toddlers and the higher end for teenage boys. Make water more "fun" by using unflavored seltzer water or adding in frozen berries, limes or cucumber slices to infuse it with flavor.
Want more information on healthy eating? Check out the Kid's Healthy Eating Plate with tips and advice about fueling your kid with the right foods.
What are you favorite after school snacks to keep your kids fueled for the afternoon?
Momtrends was not paid for this post. Affiliate links included. Photo credit: Copyright © 2015 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For more information about The Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/kids-healthy-eating-plate.