Easy to make, healthy and unprocessed snacks to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner will really help with children’s energy levels after-school, a time when they are at their most ravenous.
If you pick your kids up from school and then take them onto an activity such as athletics, basketball, ballet, soccer, dancing or any other sport for a few hours before home time, you’ll need a supply of nutritious snacks to get them through the afternoon.
The kinds of snacks that you choose to give your children can either be healthy and nutritious like cut up vegetable sticks and dips and fruit or they can come directly out of a packet which means they are probably going to be full of sugar and contain artificial ingredients, chemicals and preservatives.
If you’re time poor like most busy parents then there are some really great simple snacks that you can make at home in less than 15 minutes that will give your children lots of energy to play and perform at their best.
Stopping at the bakery for a cream-filled snack, although it will get your child’s approval, doesn’t provide the kind of nutrition active kids need. Having nutritious, energy-filled snacks on hand requires a bit of planning, but it doesn’t have to be too time consuming if you are organized.
Below are six after school treats that will rev up your little ones in a good way and have them at the top of their game.
6 After-School Treats
1. A Healthy Smoothie
This makes the perfect after-school pickup snack and will fill the void without being too heavy. Using banana will provide them with instant energy and adding to the blender full fat yoghurt with seeds and a handful of fresh berries will provide them with calcium for growing bones and good fats which help to slow down the release of fruit sugars and deliver nutrients directly into their body.
2. Fried Rice
If you’re making a stir-fry for dinner during the week, always make ample brown rice for leftovers. Once cooled, combine the rice in a pan with anything you’ve got in the fridge - peas, diced left over chicken, grated carrot and scrambled egg. Toss in a bit of wheat free tamari for a tasty, protein-filled afternoon snack which will build, maintain and repair their body's tissues, muscles, organs and immune systems.
3. Tuna wrap
Tuna doesn’t always last well in a lunch box, but if you make it just before you pick the kids up from school, it’ll stay fresh in the car in a cool lunch box. Spread some avocado over a wrap and spoon some tuna on top. Add a few lettuce leaves for a nice crunch, some grated carrot, wrap it up and cut it into quarters, now you’ve got a wholesome snack that will see them through until dinner time.
Hard boiled eggs are the perfect and quickest snack to gobble down before sports training. Pre-peeling them makes them quick to eat and not messy in the car. Add a handful of nuts and a cut up apple to make a protein-filled snack that will provide fuel and essential nutrients such as folate, vitamin A, iron, zinc, iodine and omega-3s in particular. Eggs are also a good source of protein for children to support growth during this time.
Brown rice sushi is a great after-school snack for kids who are on the run. Whether it’s filled with cooked tuna, salmon, avocado or cucumber, sushi will satisfy that empty tummy and provide long-lasting energy to burn. Brown rice will give children a healthy dose of manganese, a trace mineral which helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates as well as essential fatty acids and B vitamins.
6. Healthy Treats
Healthy treats made with ingredients such as cacao and coconut will give children good fats and provide them with energy. Cacao Bomb crackles are a fantastic after-school treat which will ensure you are meeting your child’s nutritional needs with a good supply of magnesium and iron from the raw cacao and B vitamins from brown rice puffs. Coconut oil and butter will add stickiness and sweetness and provide a great all round anti-fungal and anti-bacterial element.
Cacao Bomb Crackles Recipe
These crunchy, crackles of puffed rice are essentially an old fashioned treat that I have always yearned to recondition for a real food 21st century they are from my book Supercharged Food for Kids.
Using real food will teach your child to appreciate food’s natural flavors and develop and understanding of what real food actually tastes like and this recipe is the perfect example. It’s a godsend for busy parents as it can be whipped up quickly and then placed in the fridge for kids to enjoy at any time.
You can also make Cacao Puffs as a breakfast cereal just by omitting the coconut oil and mixing up the other ingredients and chilling in the fridge.
Cacao Bomb Crackles
- 2 cups brown rice puffs
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 6 Tbs coconut oil
- 2 Tbs coconut butter
- 3 Tbs cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cup liners.
- Place rice puffs in a bowl.
- In a food processor process coconut sugar until it resembles a fine powder.
- Place a bowl over boiling water on the stove top and add in coconut sugar, coconut oil and butter and cacao powder until melted on a medium heat.
- Add desiccated coconut and stir well.
- Remove from heat, mix with rice puffs and spoon mixture into liners.
- Place in the refrigerator to set.
What healthy snacks do your kids love?
Lee Holmes is a mum on a mission, author of Supercharged Food and Supercharged Food for Kids and founder of www.superchargedfood.com an altruistic website to help people expand their range of healthy food choices and plan ahead to create and maintain a satisfying, wholesome and nourishing diet. Lee is a Certified Health Coach (Institute of Integrative Nutrition) and Whole Foods Chef. She created a petition to improve food in hospitals in Australia and as a result a healthier menu has been introduced by the Minister for Health. In addition to passionately creating change at government and policy level, Lee recently won the title of Health Influencer Blog of the Year. Lee’s favorite recipe is Smashed Sardines and Avocado on Chia and Flaxseed Loaf.