Smart Snacking Part 1: 20 After School Snacks Your Kids Will Love!

PBJ Smoothie Plus 19 More After School Snacks Your Kids Will Love! // The Spicy RDPBJ Smoothie plus 19 more super smart after school snacks your kids will love…

If you’re a parent, you probably all too familiar with your normally angelic sweet usually nice kid coming home from a long day at school, and doing one of the following…

  1. Stare at you blankly, with a deer in the headlights look, when you ask them what they did at school, then mumble something to the effect of “I dunno…”
  2. Burst out in to tears when you ask them how their day went, then proceed to tell you how “today was my worst day ever.”
  3. Pass out cold on the couch after you’ve asked them to start their homework, only to fall in to a deep, deep slumber, then wake up so confused, they think it’s morning and time to get ready for school.

If you haven’t experienced any of these scenarios, I’d love for you to keep reading, but feel free to stop here, as you are probably already a parenting genius and don’t need my super smart snacking advice, but for the rest of you {non-parenting geniuses like me :-)} read on!

I have experienced all of the above scenarios at my house {#3 only recently since my Miss SiSi just started middle school and is having to wake up at 6 am every day to catch the bus on time, and she is NOT a morning person}, and I can tell you from experience, they are all pretty much based on one thing…

Low. Blood. Sugar.

I’d like to tell you that my kids are perfect lunch eaters, and come home from school every day with smiles on their faces, hugs and kisses for their mom, eager to tell me about their day at school, and ready to dig in to their homework…

But the reality is, that my kids are pretty good breakfast eaters, but only “so so” lunch eaters when they are at school.  Some days are great, some days are good, but some days have me yearning for a 3 pm cocktail, and since I’m not ready to go down that route {yet}, I make sure my kids eat a healthy, well-balanced, and delicious snack, the minute they walk through the door.

Cantaloupe Mojito // The Spicy RDIs it time for a Cantaloupe Mojito yet???

If your kiddos are anything like mine {please say they are!}, here are my smart snacking tips and snack ideas to help you sail through the rest of your day {and hold off on that afternoon cocktail until at least 5:00 :-)}

Smart Snacking Strategies for After School

  • Get in the habit of offering a snack to your kids right after school, as it will have been ~ 3+ hours since your child last ate, and ~3+ hours until dinner. Remember…low blood sugar = a cranky kid!
  • Tailor calories according to YOUR child’s age, size, and eating habits.  For instance, both my kids are in the pre-teen growth stage right now, which means they can eat a lot.  Since I also know that their lunch intake can hit or miss, they usually eat a pretty substantial after school snack, especially if dinner will be served on the later side. If your kids are just starting kindergarten, downsize their snack so they’ll still want to eat dinner later!
  • Offer snacks that provide a good balance of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats to keep blood sugar levels stable, energy up, and moods happy 🙂
  • Offer/Encourage at least one serving of fruits or veggies with every snack {and every meal for that matter}. Notice I said offer or encourage, not force.  If your kid’s aren’t good fruit or veggie eaters right now, don’t sweat it!  Stick with this strategy and, finger crossed, your kids will be super fruit and veggie eaters as adults, and will be offering their own kiddos lots of fruits & veggies one day!
  • Keep an after school snack list, like this FREE PRINTABLE ONE, in your kitchen to remind you of healthy snack ideas to offer your kids, and to provide older kids healthy snack ideas they can make on their own.
  • This Breakfast Bananas Foster with Cinnamon Walnut Flax Streusel is packed with protein and absolutely delicious~perfect for an afternoon snack as well as for breakfast!This Breakfast Bananas Foster is absolutely delicious and packed with protein~perfect for an afternoon snack as well as for breakfast!

10 Super Smart Spicy RD Snacks for After School Your Kids Will Love

  • Super Easy, Super Cheesy Toast + apple slices ~ Whip up the cheese topping ahead of time, then serve it melted on top of 1/2 of a {Gluten-Free}English Muffin or toast, and serve with apple slices.
  • Popcorn + String Cheese + Grapes {Ditch the popcorn bags w/ the yucky chemicals if you’re still using them, and make your own-so easy!}
  • PBJ Smoothie ~ I wish my mom would have served me this for a snack when I was a kid! Packed with protein, 1 serving of fruit, and healthy fat, this smoothie will keep your kids going until the dinner bell rings!
  • Carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, and other favorite veggies + ranch dip {this recipe looks good}, and a wedge of cheddar cheese.
  • Bananas Foster with Cinnamon Streusel Topping ~ You’ve probably already seen this recipe before, but it is an absolute favorite in our family and makes a perfect afternoon snack!
  • DIY Fruit Salad Bar: Fruit Salad {Apples, Grapes, and Valenica Oranges are a perfect choice for the fall} + Orange Vanilla Yogurt Dip {Plain Greek Yogurt lightly sweetened with honey or maple syrup, pure vanilla extract, & a splash of OJ} + Chopped Nuts + Unsweetened Coconut.
  • Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Crisp ~ Surprise your kids with “dessert” for an after school snack & they may just smother you with hugs and kisses 🙂 Top this off with a little plain Greek Yogurt for a protein boost!
  • Tortilla Chips + Guacamole + Orange Slices
  • Rainbow Smoothie Power Popsicles ~ I don’t know about you, but fall weather is nowhere in sight here in San Diego!  Let your kids cool off before they dive in to their homework with a produce {and protein} packed popsicle that’s delicious!
  • Mini Bean & Cheese Burrito {Top 1 corn tortilla or {gluten-free} flour tortilla w/ refried beans & Monterrey Jack cheese, & melt it in the microwave} + 1 Pear

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Crisp // The Spicy RDTopped w/ plain Greek Yogurt, this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Crisp makes for a super smart after school snack!

10 More Super Smart After School Snacks Your Kids Will Love

Note: All of my recipes are gluten-free.  Some of the other recipe links contain oats.  If you are following a gluten-free diet be sure and use certified gluten-free oats.

Want even MORE healthy and delicious snack ideas?  Find ’em here on my Healthy Snack Board on Pinterest!

And stay tuned for Part 2 of this post where I share my smart snacking strategies for all of YOU 🙂

It’s your turn!  What are your favorite health after school snack ideas?  Are your kids like mine after school, or have you achieved Parenting Genius status already?  Have you ever been tempted to reach for a cocktail when your kids get home from school???

As always, I love hearing from you! Please join the conversation, and if you enjoyed the post, I’d love it {and truly appreciate it!} if you stumble, tweet, pin, or share the post.  And, if you haven’t done so already, be sure and sign up for my monthly newsletter, Delicious News {Sign up before 9/14 for a chance to win an i tunes gift card!}, and connect with me on PinterestTwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Google Plus for all things healthy and delicious!


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  1. Totally had to pin this, what a perfect recipe round-up! All the recipes look like a perfect treat for kids, AND adults:-) Yum, Hugs, Terra

  2. I agree with Terra – terrific afternoon snacks for adults too! My daughter is in her last year of high school and is a good lunch eater (her school lunches are amazing), but a wholesome snack always goes down well. She tends to go for hummus on quinoa-rice cakes or plain yogurt with granola and berries, but sometimes something a bit less nutritious too! Recently I have been leaving some ready to bake panko vegetable fries for her to pop in the oven, but that might be a bit elaborate for everyday snacking. {}. I really appreciate your tips and look forward to what you come up with for us adults 😀

  3. PS Mine’s a G&T!

  4. Now that I have a little one, I need to brush up on some after-school snack ideas – she’ll be snacking in no time! And thank you so much for adding my energy bites to your list. What a fab roundup!

    • I remember the good old days when my kids were babies and they would eat ANYTHING I fed them! BTW-My friend just texted me-says she’s making your energy bites this afternoon 🙂

  5. OK , I swear I tweeted about this BEFORE I noticed you included our oat squares (thx!) This is such an important post – love how you explain why it’s necessary for an after-school snack but also the healthy (& tasty) ideas. I’m seeing other posts on this same topic and the snacks are all sweet and really not balanced. Here’s hoping most read your post!

  6. Loving all these healthy snack ideas!

  7. Great list of after school snacks! I’ll definitely make some of them.

    My son isn’t a great lunch eater, so we always have a healthy snack.

  8. These are great snack ideas for adults too! Thanks for sharing these tips

  9. I need snack ideas for myself right now. 🙂 So I LOVE this post! Thank you for including my fruit leather too.

  10. I loved this post!
    Although I don’t have kids yet, I can all too relate to those after school responses from when I was little. And I am sure my mom remembers those days with tears all too well. 😉
    I might just use these after school snack ideas for me! 🙂

  11. great idea for a blog post


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