When starting a new school year, setting up a snack station in the home can be a big help. Whether that means having a special drawer in the fridge, or a special shelf in the pantry, it’s about finding an area for their snacks. Having these safe snacks in the house will help to restore energy and keep kids making healthy eating choices. There are some simple ways to fill your pantry and refrigerator with brain food that will fuel them for the school week. Here are a few ideas for back to school snacks for kids of all ages.
Eating to Fuel the Brain
When choosing after school snacks it can be tempting to choose items that are packed with sugars and preservatives. While these items can be easy to hand a child, they aren’t best for their health. Instead, you want to opt for snack options that are better for their overall health. When choosing snacks you will want to opt for produce, clean snacks, and items with less preservatives. Here are a few options to consider.
Offer fresh fruits and vegetables
Offer healthy trail mixes
Trail mix can be a great snack for kids. Not only is it packed with protein and healthy sugars but it is an easy snack to enjoy after a long school day. Even better, trail mix can be easy to portion out. However, not all trail mixes are created equally. You will want to make sure to check the sugar content and see what other additives are being used. It’s best to make sure that whichever trail mix you choose uses only the best ingredients sourced from quality places.
Items like beef jerky can be a great after school snack. Not only are they quick and easy to grab before moving to the next thing, but they are packed with protein. You can go with grass fed beef sticks or gluten-free, paleo snacks for kids. When purchasing jerky snacks make sure to go with a high quality, sugar free jerky product that doesn’t use fillers or other unhealthy items in it. You can find these snacks in a variety of flavor combinations or meat types. These are a fantastic snack option kids can grab after school, including those Whole30 snacks many parents are looking for.
Smoothies can be a fantastic after school snack. Pack them with hidden vegetables as well as fresh fruit for a delicious after school treat. Using items like frozen bananas can give you a thick creamy smoothie without adding extra sugars. Even better, many of the items can be frozen together into small freezer bags so that all you have to do is dump them in the blender and blend. This can be a simple snack for kids to enjoy after a long day at school.
Boiled Eggs, String Cheese, and Yogurt
Items like boiled eggs, string cheese, and yogurt can be the perfect addition to any after school snack menu. These items are full of protein while typically low in sugars. Boiled eggs can be prepared in as much as a week in advance if they are left unpeeled until being eaten. String cheese can be another fun snack for kids that is packed with protein and calcium. With yogurt, you will want to check the ingredients list before adding these to your snack shelf in the refrigerator. Many yogurts are packed with sugars and other additives. It can help to get a plain yogurt and add in granola or dried fruit.
Nut butters and dips
While these items are not a snack of their own, it can be helpful to include nut butters and dips in your snacking cabinet. These items pair well with crackers, vegetables, fruits, and a variety of other snacks. Sometimes it can be helpful to toss some trail mix in BBQ sauce or ranch before cooking. These little added touches can be a healthy kick of flavor that will encourage kids to enjoy snacks that are better for them.
Popcorn and Chips
While popcorn and chips can be a less frequent snacking food for some, there are ways to keep it healthy and delicious. When making popcorn choose a seasoning that is packed with flavor without extra ingredients that your kids shouldn’t have. For instance, a classic BBQ seasoning may be just what you need to mix into a fresh batch of popcorn or even sweet potato fries. If you are making healthier versions of chips using vegetables sometimes it can help to toss them in a good seasoning for added flavor, or even spice things up with a paleo buffalo sauce.
Granola bars and energy bars
Many granola bars and energy bars on the market are packed with sugars and less than savory additives. These can quickly be moved to the do not eat list. However, when making your own, you have the opportunity to opt for healthier ingredients. Move to items like a good nut butter or dried fruits for a great twist on less healthy options. If you are not the type to cook these, spend some time researching labels and seeing which brands offer a healthy option without adding sugars and preservatives.