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After School Snacks to Defeat the Hangry Without Spoiling Dinner

26 Ago 2015 – 10:00 AM EDT

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“I’m so hungry!” is usually my greeting when the kids get in my car after school. Having yummy afterschool snacks ready is a must if I don’t want them to go into hangry mode (hungry and angry!). Some grades eat lunch as early as 10 a.m. – no wonder they’re famished.

After school snacks are tricky, though. They should be kid-friendly, of course. As parents, we also want them to be healthy and satisfying enough to ease their hunger without ruining their appetite for dinner. Here are some of our favorite after school snack solutions.

Leftover Bento Boxes
Pick up small plastic containers with several compartments. (Or make your own compartments using silicone cupcake liners.) Add small servings of leftovers to the different departments. For example, throw in some sliced chicken from last night’s dinner, a few whole wheat crackers and some grapes. My daughter loves leftover salmon mixed with cream cheese on crackers. I add some mini bell peppers and a couple sliced strawberries to the other compartments and she has her own fancy snack made just for her.

Smoothies are so easy. Throw frozen fruit, a couple big handfulls of fresh spinach, a banana and plain Greek yogurt into a blender. Whirl until smooth. Add some water if it gets stuck. The banana will add enough sweetness, no sugar or juice required.

Old fashioned PB&J
Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat is a pretty balanced snack. Make it a half (or quarter) for younger kids. Make your own freezer jelly (easier than you probably think!) to control the sugar content.

Fruit and veggie dippers
Kids love dipping things. Put out an assortment of fresh veggies, such as grape tomatoes, zuchini slices, sugar snap peas, celery sticks and baby carrots, with ranch or hummus for dipping. Do the same with fruit slices and yogurt as the dip.

Cookies and milk – with a twist
Cookies and milk is the gold standard when it comes to making kids feel loved. Whip up a healthier cookie from Cooking Light and add a protein-rich cup of milk.
Hang out with your kids while they munch. Make after school snack time part of your family traditions they’ll remember well into adulthood.