What Do I Give My Child After-School?: Easy, Guilt-Free Snack Ideas

One of the most frequent questions I get from clients and friends (aside from “what should I feel my children for breakfast”) is, “what should I give my ravenous child for a snack when they come home from school?” Many of our children eat lunch so early that when they get out of school they are literally melting and in great need of a snack to give them energy to go to the park or to their after-school activity or to sit down and focus on their homework.

So, what should you look for?

The main thing to look for a snack that does not contain high-fructose corn syrup or a high level of sugar. Sugar come in many forms and is called high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, fructose or corn syrup. Foods that are sweetened with agave nectar, honey, or brown rice syrup are much better choices.

The second most important thing is to choose a snack that contains protein. This could be a slice of cheese, almond butter, a cup of nuts or even a cup of yogurt or a glass of milk. This is especially important if you have given them a carbohydrate such as crackers, bread or pretzels because eating a protein while consuming carbohydrates lowers the glycemic index of the snack by slowing the absorption rate of the sugar

Basically the glycemic index measures the amount of time it takes for our bodies to break down the carbohydrate and have the sugar enter our blood. Foods with the lowest glycemic index break down the slowest, thus, releasing sugars into our blood more slowly. Low-glycemic foods are vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and whole grains. High-glycemic foods are flour, refined grains such as white rice and potatoes, sugar, processed and junk food.

Below are some ideas for healthy snacks:

- Cup of yogurt (Brown Cow, Stoneyfield, Fage & Skyr.is are my favorites)
- Cup of yogurt with trailmix (mixed nuts, seeds & dried fruits)
- Cup of goji berries (see below for more on goji berries)
- Sliced apple with almond butter
- Pb&j sandwich (on 7-grain bread with almond butter & no-sugar jelly)
- Almond butter, honey & banana sandwich on 7-grain bread (see recipe below)
- Carrot sticks with hummus
- Celery sticks filled with tofutti cream cheese
- Whole grain pita bread with slice of melted cheese
- Pretzels or Cheddar Bunnies (pair with protein source such as milk, yogurt, nuts or cheese)
- Fresh fruit (pair with cup of milk, yogurt, a piece of cheese or some nuts)
- Greens + bar (what I call “salad in a bar”)
- Jennie’s Omega 3 bar
- Smoothie with fresh fruit (include milk or yogurt for the protein)

Recipe for Grilled Almond Butter, Banana & Honey Sandwich

7-grain bread
Almond Butter (preferably raw)
Honey (preferably raw)
Banana

Take 2 slices of bread and liberally cover one side in almond butter. Slice bananas into thin slices on top of the almond butter and drizzle with honey. Cover with second slice of bread and place in Panini and grill. Delicious!

If you do not have a Panini, this recipe can be made in an omelet pan or even outside on the grill in the summer! This recipe is a hit with children and adults alike!



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