The 5 Best Snacks For Children To Eat After School
When little ones get home from school with rumbling tummies, what they need is a tasty, healthy snack. Read on to find out about five of the best snacks for children to eat in the afternoon.
It’s sometimes difficult not to fall back on junk food, which offers a quick solution for hungry kids and time-pressed parents. But there are plenty of healthy snack options that kids actually like.
Don’t underestimate the importance of healthy snacks. A good diet is essential for your children’s growth. An after-school snack gives them just the right amount of energy for an action-packed afternoon of homework and play.
A long day at school can be physically and mentally tiring. Snacking in the afternoon is a good way for kids to get their energy back and keep going until dinner.
Why is it important for children to have snacks?
- Growth: Your children are growing and developing. They need energy and the right nutrients to help them on their way.
- Digestive system: Their body isn’t good at going for long periods without eating. Children need to eat smaller portions, but often.
- Weight control: By eating more frequently, children won’t be so hungry that they end up stuffing themselves at dinnertime. That’s why the right snacks can help your child maintain a healthy weight.
- Energy: Children are physically and mentally active. They spend all day at school, running around and exercising their brains. They need food to recharge their batteries and keep up with their hectic daily routines.
Snacking rules for children
- Keep an eye on the time of day. If they take a snack to school, they should eat it during a break. After school, make sure they have their mid-afternoon snack after they’ve digested their lunch, but not too close to dinnertime.
- Pay attention to how much they eat. Don’t forget, a snack should just be something light to keep them going until the next meal. Excessive snacking can disrupt other meals if the child is still full by dinnertime.
- Avoid refined sugar, artificial coloring and preservatives. Although there are many quick and convenient options available, pay attention to the ingredients label. There are some substances that children shouldn’t be eating every day.
- Make sure snacks include the right food groups. That doesn’t mean that every snack needs to have carbohydrates, fruit and dairy products, but they should eat each of these food groups every day.
- Don’t forget water! Make sure they stay hydrated.
The 5 best snacks for children
These ideas for snacks for children can be a good starting point. Don’t be afraid to innovate, however: use your imagination.
Why not ask your kids for ideas? Together, you could create something new, tasty and healthy.
- Sandwiches: A classic. When you make sandwiches, think about the size, which should be suitable for your child and their level of activity, but also the filling. Cold meats like ham are a good option, providing plenty of protein. You can also try sweet sandwiches, like banana or chocolate spread: they provide energy, and your children are sure to love them.
- Fruit pops: Make a fruit puré and freeze it using an ice-pop mold. This is a healthy snack that is easy to make in advance: perfect for summer afternoons.
- Yogurt: Yogurt gives your child a perfect portion of dairy, for calcium and protein. Mix it up with toppings like fruit, cereal and nuts. Look for natural yogurt, or at least check the label for added sugar.
- Smoothies: Choose seasonal fruit to make a smoothie they’ll love. You can mix in milk for a portion of dairy. Add grains or unsalted nuts and this drink covers three food groups in one.
- A glass of milk and a slice of homemade cake: When it comes to cakes and baked goods, homemade is best. This way, you can be sure of the ingredients and how much of each one goes into the mix. This is a perfect afternoon treat for your children. Why not help yourself to a slice, too?
Of course, don’t worry if you don’t have time to prepare a healthy snack from scratch every day. It’s ok to use pre-prepared products from time to time.
The key to a healthy diet is balance: a little treat from time to time does no harm at all.