Healthy fuss-free after-school snacks for kids

With another school holiday behind us we parents once again find ourselves washing uniform, fitting all we have to do within the school run, ferrying children to their after-school activities and keeping the house stocked with after-school snacks. It can be tricky to know which snacks to buy when faced with an array of choices in the supermarket. Which will your kids eat? Which offer at least some sort of nutritional value? If you search online for guidance for after-school snack ideas you are presented with a wealth of creative options such as frozen banana bites, savoury homemade muffins and homemade peanut butter cup. To be honest though, I know very few parents who I think would have the time or inclination to come up with such creations on a daily basis, and frankly I’m not sure the children would appreciate them even if they did.  

Here therefore, are a few nutritious after-school snack ideas that can either be bought or thrown together with minimal effort…

1.    Popcorn

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As long as you avoid the varieties that are flavoured with refined sugar, you and your children can have fun exploring the array of flavours that are now available. Propercorn products are regulars on our shopping list.

2. Energy balls

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There are many fabulous energy ball recipes out there on the internet should you have the time and desire to make your own. I don’t, so I buy the peanut butter Bounce Balls in bulk so they’re always in the cupboard. They offer a good serving of protein and healthy fat and therefore are far more filling than many snacks that you’d find on the ‘Healthy Kids Snacks’ aisle of a supermarket.

3. Veggies with dips

Include some humous or other dips in your shopping, chop veg such as carrots, peppers, celery or cucumber into strips (or even buy prepped veg) and you'll have a healthy snack ready in minutes.

4. Nuts, seeds and dried fruit

Buy these in big bags for better value and give small portions to your children when they get home. You could easily mix a selection together for a quickly thrown together trail mix and your children can have fun trying different combinations.

5. Toast

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Toast is a filling snack so is perfect for nights on which your children have a sporting activity between school and dinner. Buttery toast is also a very welcome offering on particularly cold days. Especially when served alongside a warm drink.

6. Fruit

Think beyond apples and bananas and fruit can become exciting and interesting for your children. Supermarkets sell a huge variety of pre-packed berry and fruit selections, although they can be pricey. I always have a selection of frozen fruit in my freezer and a container of them defrosting in the fridge. Add a dollop of yoghurt to this and you have an instant nutritious snack.

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7. Bear products

 These are another snack-cupboard staple in our house. They’re made from 100% fruit and veg and therefore deliver a good serving of vitamins and fibre. The only sugar in them is the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit. They come in a wide variety of flavours and shapes so there is plenty of variety to keep children interested.

8. Sliced fruit and nut butter

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Slice an apple or pear and serve with a small spoonful of nut butter to dip it into and a boring old apple has suddenly become far more interesting. The nut butter also provides a good serving of protein and healthy fat to add to the vitamin and fibre offerings of the apple, making this a really nutritious snack.

9. Fruit kebabs

It’s a classic kids’ snack but for good reason. Children love putting the kebabs together and have far more fun eating the fruit than they would if you just put it out in bowls in front of them. This also doubles-up as a good after-school activity and if there’s a friend over for tea it becomes even more fun as they can have fun making their kebabs together.

10. Smoothies

Have fun coming up with and trying different smoothies. There are lots of smoothie makers available now. We have a Breville Blend Active which costs around £20, has seen lots of use and is still going strong, so there’s no need to shell out loads of money for an all-singing-all-dancing model. My kids love putting everything in it, pressing the button and watching all their ingredients become a delicious smoothie. Plus by being involved in the making process they’re far more likely to drink it than if I just bought a bottle of smoothie from a shop.

I hope you find these suggestions useful. I’d love to hear what your go-to healthy after-school snacks are so please share them with me at ‘Hilton Health’ on Facebook or ‘Hilton_Health’ on Instagram. For more healthy tips for busy parents head to hiltonhealth.co.uk/blog.

Laura Hilton