Summer is winding down and school is quickly approaching and along with school comes school and after-school snacks! Our Registered Dietitian, Jennifer Lincecum put together a list of low-prep, healthy and homemade school snacks. Although it takes a little more work, homemade snacks are ALWAYS better than pre-packaged. Pre-packages snacks tend to have lots of added sugar and salt as well as other unhealthy additives. Focusing on snacks that have more bang for their buck is a great way to keep kids fueled during the school year. Snacks with high fiber and high protein will keep your kids feeling full throughout all their daily activities.
A super easy go to snack that packed with protein and fiber are protein balls. There are hundreds of recipes online and they can be easily customized towards what your child likes. Protein balls are easy to make and can even be a fun activity to include your child in. Here is a great protein ball recipe to try out.
2 cups rolled oats
1 ¼ cups chunky natural peanut butter
1 cup ground flaxseed
¾ cup honey
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup sliced almonds
Stir oats, peanut butter, flaxseed, honey, cranberries, chocolate chips, and almonds together in a bowl; roll into 12-18 balls and refrigerate at least 1 hour or press into a 9×11 baking dish and cut into 12 granola bars.
Fruit and vegetables also make great snacks and are great to have on hand, but you may need to spice it up if you have a picky eater. Try making smoothies for your kids. This is another great way to pack nutrition into a snack. If your kids are old enough, they may even be able to make smoothies on their own. You can keep simple ingredients like milk, yogurt, frozen fruit, frozen or fresh spinach, and flax seed on hand. You can also pre-make frozen smoothie packs by adding fruit, spinach, and flax seed to a freezer safe bag. Then when you’re ready to use, pull the bag out of the freezer and add milk or water.
Ants on a log (peanut butter and raisins on celery) is another fun way to dress up a vegetable. Plus the peanut butter gives a good protein boost! Ranch or hummus is another great option to go with veggies. Try making your own ranch to cut out added sugars. Here is a quick recipe for a healthier version of ranch.
Healthy Ranch Dip:
2/3 cup light sour cream
2/3 cup light mayo
1 Tbsp cidar vinegar
1tsp dried dill
1 tsp dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper
Makes 4- ¼ cup servings
9 g fat
Chips and salsa is another great snack option! Tortilla chips are low in saturated fat and salsa (especially homemade) is a great way to add some fruit and vegetables to a snack. This mild salsa cheese dip is a fun treat for kids as well!
Mild Salsa Cheese Dip:
½ cup mild salsa
1 c shredded light cheddar cheese
4oz light cream cheese
1-2 Tbsp ketchup
Melt in microwave for a dip
4 -1/4 c servings =128 calories and 6 g fat
Another quick snack is a tortilla wrap. Kids can add banana and peanut butter or lunch meat and spinach for a quick and easy after school snack. You can also keep popcorn, trail mix, string cheese, hard boiled eggs, and any fresh fruit or vegetables on hand for easy snacking. Remember, the shorter the ingredient list, the better! Less ingredients means the food is as close to its whole or natural form and less added sugars and salts. We hope these ideas leave you and your kiddos with a few easy, healthy, and tasty snack for this school year!