By the way my three daughters eat when they return from school, you’d think they didn’t have a healthy and wholesome homemade breakfast and lunch—they are ravenous! Since health is my number one priority and simplicity is a close second, I always have to prepare after-school snacks that will satisfy their voracious appetites and fast-growing bodies while appeasing my parenting need to nourish their whole selves—minds, bodies, souls. The bonus is that most of these snacks can be presented in a fun way, because food should always be enjoyed!
Here, I share with you some of the easy make-ahead after-school snacks my girls (and I) enjoy. These are snacks that will hold them over until dinnertime, but if you have a long evening of extracurricular activities ahead of you, you can give them larger portions, combine a few of these snacks, or take some along with you! Whatever you decide to give them, try to make sure their snack contains some protein and healthy fat in order to provide balanced and sustainable energy.
Note: If you follow a gluten-free, grain-free, or paleo lifestyle, you can easily modify the snacks that include grain either by omitting them altogether or replacing them with an alternative.
- Cut-up fruit with almond butter or Greek yogurt for dipping (my kids love dipping!)
- Cut-up veggies with hummus or ranch dressing (dipping!)
- Fruit salad topped with a little whipped cream; Change up the type of fruit as you wish
- Edamame with pink salt—makes it look fancier than regular salt
- Hard-boiled eggs, sliced with an egg-slicer or halved and sprinkled with pink salt
- Deviled eggs topped with a tiny dash of paprika
- Yogurt parfait—ahead of time, wash some berries (or prepare other cut-up fruit) and place in small bowls along with separate bowls filled with low-sugar granola (regular or gluten-free), coconut shreds, chopped nuts (if tolerated), and a small amount of dark chocolate chips. The kids can put those add-ins directly into the yogurt cup or in a clear cup so that they can see the parfait layers. Top with honey!
- Deli meat, sliced cheese or cheese sticks, and grapes (cut in halves for ages 4 and younger)
- Deli-meat or prosciutto wrapped around asparagus spears
- Cottage cheese with chopped cucumber and olives, with or without Melba toast
- Tuna/sardine salad (prepared the night before or the same morning with mayonnaise and mustard) with crackers or celery, or if you have extra time, cut out the flesh from unpeeled cucumbers, and create “boats” with tuna salad filling
- Whole wheat or gluten-free crackers topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon (you’d be surprised—kids love these!)
- Rice cakes or rice crackers with peanut/almond/sunflower butter and no sugar added jam (or replace the nut butter with cream cheese, for a cheesecake-like snack)
- Baked corn tortilla chips (bonus if you find ones that are non-GMO) with ready-made guacamole (either homemade or purchased) and salsa
- Pretzel thins (or gluten-free pretzels) with hummus
- Beef jerky (prepared at home or store-bought) and apple sauce
- Trail mix—Have your kiddos make their own in a Ziploc bag the night before—set out regular or gluten free Chex, dried fruit, nuts (if tolerated), coconut flakes, chocolate chips, freeze-dried fruit, and anything else you think they’d love.
- Fruit and nut/seed bars—such as Larabar or these homemade versions
Whenever possible, involve your kid/s in the preparation and see how excited they are to eat these snacks up!