With the new school year underway, you might find that your kids are especially hungry when they get home. After the summer holidays, this is to be expected as children get used to using up their energy during playtime, learning and social activities again, meaning that they’re likely to be much hungrier when they get home, no matter what they’ve had for their lunch!
Kids often tend to nibble on a variety of different snacks when they get in before they have their dinner, and after a while, you might find that you default to a few select choices. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, as parents, we often subconsciously choose snacks that take little prep time and these are either nutritionally void, or leave kids feeling bored and uninspired.
So, with this in mind, why not take advantage of your kids’ hunger at the end of the school day and use this to come up with some new and fun ideas for healthy after school snacks?
Homemade Granola Bars
Kids love sweet stuff and often tend to deviate towards sweet snacks when they get home. This is because their energy levels need a boost and sweet snacks can provide this boost, as well as being tasty. But, unfortunately, not all sweet snacks are healthy and are packed full of refined sugar, leaving kids hyped up and still hungry.
Making your own granola bars is super easy and can be customised to suit the tastes of your kids as you can decide exactly what to include. With a base of oats and a mix of syrup and honey, you can use dried fruits such as apricots, dates or cranberries to add some natural sweetness, or dark chocolate chips, nuts and marshmallows for a sweet, high-protein snack.
Getting kids interested in eating fruits and vegetables can be a challenge in itself, never mind after school when they’re already hungry, tired and grumpy. However, there are ways you can make fruit and vegetables a more appealing snack option for little ones using a little imagination.
Use sticks of celery, carrots or pineapple and then on top, add things such as hummus, peanut butter or yoghurt. On top of this, add grapes, cherry tomatoes or radishes to create caterpillar shapes, or circles of apple, orange, kiwi or cucumber for fun snails. Then, stick edible googly eyes to the front and there you have it – fun fruity bugs!
Fun Floor Picnic
If you’ve noticed that your kids are especially tired and hungry after school, then why not treat them to a fun floor picnic every now and then? Before they get home from school, lay blankets and pillows on the floor, either in a quiet area of the house if you’re trying to avoid screen time, or in front of the TV with a movie for a Friday night treat.
Then, pack them a little snack picnic of sandwiches cut into fun shapes, tasty fruit kebabs with a dark chocolate dip, slurpy jelly or a small biscuit selection with a hot chocolate? Whilst this is not the healthiest choice, we all need a little treat now and then and kids are no different! Plus, they’re likely to remember the fun they had from a floor picnic for many years to come!
Are your little ones quick to grab a pack of crisps or some crackers when they get in? If you find that your kids are more of a savoury snacker, then there are some great alternatives to crisps that are much healthier and can be customised to suit your kid’s personal tastes, including roasted chickpeas. Preheat your oven to around 200ºc and drain a tin of chickpeas, making sure to rinse well. Then pat them dry, getting rid of any loose skins.
Put onto a baking tray drizzle with olive oil with your choice of seasonings, such as BBQ, salt and pepper, paprika and parmesan or taco seasoning and lime. Then, roast until crisp for around 30-40 minutes. These make a perfect savoury snack and by using chickpeas, you can ensure that it is a low calorie, high protein and fibre snack instead of potato crisps.