The end-of-day school bell signals home-time for many kids, and after a day of learning, socializing, recess and gym class, some serious re-fueling is needed.  

Kids are typically very hungry after school, and given the chance, would opt to refuel on sugary treats. But with a little planning, you can stock your home with healthy treats that meet little resistance.

If you really aren’t the domestic type (and that’s OK!), you can always have healthy snacks on hand. You can have a supply of fruit, crackers, chopped vegetables and dips such as hummus or guacamole.

If store bought is more your style, here’s how to start to offer more homemade and why:

Granola Bars

Store-bought: Granola bars can be high in sugar, even if not coated in sugary yogurt or chocolate.  Most popular ones may contain mini marshmallows and chocolate chips, rivaling calories and sugar similar to a chocolate bar.  
    
Homemade: Can be packed with hidden extras such as antioxidant rich dried blueberries, whole oat flakes, sweeteners such as maple syrup and even flax, hemp or chia seeds.  Seeds all offer nutrients and even essential fats to help that learning brain retain a day’s worth of teaching.  
Recipe: 3-Step Granola Bars from The Sweet Potato Chronicles

Cheese and Crackers

Store-bought: Cheese and bread stick packages contain processed cheese with high sodium, preservatives, artificial colours and white flour bread sticks.

Homemade Alternative: Try a dip of cream cheese or goats cheese with maple syrup and a bit of grated garlic.  Dip with Mary’s Sticks and Twigs for extra brain building omega 3 essential fats from all the seeds. Pieces of cheddar, havarti, or gouda are mild enough for most kids. Offer with oatcakes for a change.
Recipe: Sundried tomato and bean dip
 
Muffins or Cakes

Store-bought: Most store bought muffins and cakes are laden with sugar and processed white flour. This combination can contribute to behavior issues that stem from energy highs and crashing lows. Good luck getting homework done in that mode.      

Homemade alternative: Homemade baking allows you to try out new recipes with less sugar, whole grain flours and add in fruit or grated vegetables (carrot and zucchini work great), sweeten with applesauce, molasses or other more nutritious sweeteners.  
Recipe: Zucchini Mini-Muffins

More Tips

No matter what after school snack is on offer, look for low sugar options and always offer protein rich nuts or seeds, dairy including cottage cheese and greek yogurt, beans in hummus or other dips and eggs.  

Offer diluted juice on the snack tray as it hydrates better than full strength, keeps energy more balanced and makes it last longer.
 
Even if milk and cookies are insisted on by your budding Einstein, save it for Friday or once homework is done - as a celebration – rather than every day, and get the kids to help with some homemade options that they can claim as their own creation!

Read More:
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A Recipe for Each Trimester: Why Pregnancy Nutrition is Important for Your Baby

From Pregnancy to Picky Eaters: Nutrition Tips for Every Stage