Healthy after-school snacks

Cassie Smith

The school year has only just begun, but getting back into the school routine is a tough adjustment for a lot of kids. While it may be difficult to get them to eat fruits and vegetables after a long day at school, it’s important to provide healthy snacks to keep kids satiated and energized to do their homework, play outdoors with friends or practice sports and instruments. Try out these fun and nutritious options to help your kids avoid the afternoon slump.

Avocado yogurt dip with vegetables or pretzels: Mix ½ cup of Greek yogurt with chopped avocado, squeeze in a bit of lime juice, add a touch of salt, and you’ve got a quick and healthy dip to serve with veggies or pretzels.

Homemade granola bars: Avoid the extra sugar that’s common in store-bought varieties by making your own granola bars. Prepare ahead and individually wrap these for afternoons when your family is on the go.

Fruit kabobs: Thread grapes, strawberries, sliced bananas or other fruits on toothpicks. Serve with peanut butter dip, yogurt dip or cheese slices.

Sweet potato chips: Homemade sweet potato chips are a great alternative to packaged potato chips and still offer the crunch kids crave. Slice the sweet potatoes during meal prep on Sunday or the night before, so they’ll be ready to pop in the oven on weekday afternoons. Swap out the sour cream for Greek yogurt in the dip.

Black bean and cheese quesadilla bites: For a heartier snack, quesadillas are quick and easy. Heat a skillet with cooking spray and toast a tortilla. Once it begins to toast, top half of it with warmed black beans and shredded cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese. Fold the tortilla in half and press down with a spatula to seal the quesadilla. Remove from pan once cheese is melted. Cool for a couple of minutes and use a pizza cutter to slice into triangles.

Smoothies: Keep a variety of smoothie packs with your kids’ favorite fruits in the freezer, so all you need to do in the afternoon is add a liquid and a dry ingredient or two and hit “blend.” You can also sneak in a few greens, avocado, or chia or flax seeds for extra health benefits.

The eating and exercise habits you instill in your children can lead them to make healthier choices as they grow and become adults. Learn more about how a healthy diet can reduce your risk of cancer.