After a busy day at school, the first thing those kiddos need (after a hug!) is a little snack boost…and the last thing you want to do is fix another meal while you are getting dinner together! Here’s a list of healthy after school snacks the kids can make themselves!
I actually don’t snack my kids very much. At least in my house it seems that snacking always led to lunch or dinner not being eaten well. But kids in full time school really have a long day. And especially when they are going though growth spurts, or are in after school activities in the evening, a quick snack when they get home can mean the difference between a crabby kid and one that has had a little energy boost to make it to dinner time happily.
I don’t want to cook…and better yet – I want my 6 year old to be able to fix it herself (and for her 4 year old sister!). If the kids are old enough to be in school they are old enough to learn how to fix themselves a simple snack!
The key word being learn. If you set the guideline and expectations clearly, this can be super easy!
Here are a few tips:
- Sit down with the kids and this list and let them decide on 5 snack ideas that sound great to them.
- Let them help you prep things on the weekend for snacktime. For instance, older kids can help cut veggie sticks and younger ones can stir up the Ranch dressing. The container of veggie sticks and jar of dip can be ready to go and in a kid reach-able spot in the fridge so they can help themselves with mom hands free.
- Label/guide the serving size they can take. Put a 1/2 cup measure or equivalent cup size in the container of trail mix. Have 1/2 cup or so containers or bowls at their reach for yogurt. You could even make a simple, short list to keep on the fridge for them to follow.
- Practice. I know it sounds so odd, but especially when it comes to younger ones who are still learning how to follow step by step instructions correctly, this is important so you don’t end up pulling your hair out over a big mess in the kitchen.
- Don’t forget clean up. The last thing you need is more crumbs, silverware, and bowls to put away and/or wash. Show them where you expect the empty containers to go or how they should be washed. Show them how to wipe the counter too.
So here are 10 snack ideas to get you started!
1. One scoop from the “Trail Mix” container. A quick mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and coconut flakes into an airtight container and done! Throw a 1/2 cup scoop or so in there for them to measure out their own too!
2. Fruit On the Bottom Yogurt Cups. I keeps some of the small Ball jelly jars for these – I think they are 8oz and they work great for fruit on the bottom yogurt! Just plunk a few frozen fruit pieces into the bottom, whole yogurt over top, pop the lid on and it thaws in the fridge to make the fruit on the bottom! Of course the kids can make their own with fresh fruit from the fridge too!
3. Healthy Snack Bars. I like Larabars – I know there must be others with ok ingredients. Just keep them in a spot the kids can reach without your help. I don’t usually like to pay for store bought bars, so I make my own! I batch up snack bars like these energy bars super quick once a month for the freezer. (You can also search my blog for Larabar DIY, protein bars, snack bars, etc!)
4. Ants on a Log. Classic! Just celery sticks with natural peanut butter (or sunbutter!) and raisins up top for the ants! I have non-sharp butter knives for spreading in a spot the girls can get to so they can spread their own.
5. Hard Boiled Egg from the Fridge Stash & a Piece of Fruit. Hard boiled eggs keep for 5 days in their shell! Many weeks I hard boil an entire dozen eggs, pop them back in the egg carton in their shell, and use them before the end of the week for quick breakfast, lunch, or snacks. Show the kids how to peel them! My kindergartener had hard boiled egg peeling at one of her daily life centers at school last year! They can do it!
6. Fruit & Cheese. There are some pretty great non-sharp cheese cutters that just have a wire across that are safe for even kindergarteners. You can teach them how much to cut and they can pick a piece of fruit to go with it!
7. Veggie Sticks & 5 Minute Ranch. Cut up a load of veggie variety using a kid-friendly knife, toss it into a bag or container with a lid and they can serve themselves at snack time. I make a jar of 5 minute homemade Ranch every Sunday for the week and store it in a glass storage jar. It works out great for salads and dipping.
9. Guacamole & Tortilla Chips. If you have a taco night every week, make a little extra guac to save for snacktime! Show them how much to scoop out and how many tortilla chips (or crackers) they can have with it.
10. Cheese & Crackers. Again show them how to cut the cheese (my recommendation is staying away from pre-shredded or pre-sliced cheese – take a peek at the ingredients on those!) and how many crackers they can have.
Renee blogs at Raising Generation Nourished, and with 3 girls ages 5 and under, she is passionate about raising the next generation of kids with a better understanding where their food comes from and how food affects their bodies.