When it comes to kids, they are always hungry! Especially after coming home from school. Keep it simple, healthy, fun, and delicious with these snacks. These wholesome treats are snacks that kids actually WANT to eat, and while they are great all day long, they are especially suited to after-school snack time.
The Importance of Snack Time
Children have smaller stomachs that fill up FAST and they are also burning through energy really quickly. This means they are often more suited to eating 3 small meals with 2-3 snacks throughout the day.
According to physicians, snacking is considered a crucial role in a healthy diet.
But just like anything, it all comes down to WHAT you select as a snack. My number one piece of advice when selecting a snack is to try to keep it balanced and serve whole grain with both a bit of protein and some healthy fat.
Snack time is also an opportunity to reach dietary goals for the day.
- No veggies at lunchtime? What about a slice of Zucchini bread or fresh veggie sticks with hummus?
- Need a dose of dairy? Try yogurt topped with fresh fruit or nut butter. Or maybe sliced cheese with fresh fruit.
- Haven’t had a treat in awhile? Surprise your children with some Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Don’t think of snacks as just fillers, think of it as an opportunity to nourish your growing child. After all, most children eat better at snack time than at mealtime.
Snack Ideas for Kids
Smoothies are a huge favorite for kids. And they are super easy to pump full of nutrients while still tasting like a decadent dessert.
Craving chocolate? Try a Peanut Butter Cup Protein Smoothie. Need extra veggies? Get in a serving of greens with a Tropical Kale Smoothie. Low on Vitamin A? Try a Sweet Potato Smoothie--almost as good as Sweet Potato Pie!
Most store-bought granola or snack bars are high in sugar--sometimes more than a candy bar!
Instead of relying on these overly-processed or high-priced snack bars, try making your own. My recipe for Homemade Granola Bars only takes 5 minutes to make and requires NO baking!
If you love Larabars, save money and make your own with my recipe for Homemade Larabars. Again this recipe is simple to make and there is no baking required.
When muffins are made with whole grains and without refined sugars, they make a perfectly balanced snack. And of course, kids LOVE muffins of all varieties.
These are our favorite healthy muffins that are perfect for snacking on.
- Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins are packed with fruit and whole grains.
- Carrot Cake Muffins taste like a decadent cake but are 100% healthy--and even feature some additional vegetables.
- Your kids will guess Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins: are loaded with whole grains, calcium, and veggies.
- Pumpkin Muffins are rich and moist, but naturally sweetened, made with whole wheat flour, and are dairy-free.
- A cross between oatmeal and a muffin, Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins are full of protein, fiber, and whole grains--while being gluten-free as well.
Yogurt is full of calcium, protein and when you opt for plain yogurt instead of sweetened flavored yogurt, it is a perfect base for a healthy snack.
And while serving plain yogurt with fresh fruit and homemade granola is always a favorite of kids, get a little creative with the yogurt! Prepare Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip and pair with fruit or whole-grain pretzels. Or top bananas with yogurt, chocolate chips, and fresh strawberries for a healthy take on a Banana Split? Or try my kids' favorite--Homemade Gogurts--you only need fruit and plain yogurt to make your own version of a store-bought favorite.
Bananas are a kid-favorite. They are naturally sweet and happen to be packed full of nutrients, vitamins, and fiber. While they are delicious served alone, they are much more balanced when paired with whole grains and natural fats. Try out a fun take on Sushi with Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Sushi or if you have brown bananas, try making Healthy Banana Cookies or Healthy Banana Bread.
When your child is in the mood for a salty treat, Homemade Popcorn is the way to go! Popcorn gets a bad rap because we most often think of movie theater popcorn that is super high in sodium and fat. But when made at home, either on the stove-top or in the microwave, popcorn is 100% healthy. It is a whole grain, gluten-free, and has no added sugars. I love to add roasted nuts and raisins to popped popcorn for a tasty, wholesome trail mix.
I would love to hear which of these healthy snacks your kids love most or a favorite of yours! Please share in the comments!