If your house is anything like mine, you hear the following question exactly 347 times each day:
“Can I have a snack?”
(Okay, that number is approximate… but it’s gotta be close, right?)
You field this question at least every 30 minutes all morning from your littles, so by the time your big kids get home from school, you are just all. snacked. out.
You’re tired, you’ve been in and out of the kitchen all morning, and you haven’t even thought about dinner yet. You’re tempted to just throw them some cookies and go hide in the other room. (I’ve been there!)
So let me encourage you right now with this: After school snacks don’t have to be panic-inducing!
Let’s sort through a few scenarios, and I’ll help you prevent those afternoon snack-tastrophes. (I had to!)
After School Snack Panic #1:
My Child is Constantly Hungry!
Does your child consume an unbelievable number of snacks in the afternoon? Does it feel like you’re just throwing bags of chips and crackers into a bottomless pit?
Solution: Offer a More Substantial Snack.
Look, we love Goldfish crackers as much as the next family, but they just don’t keep my kids full. If you want to keep your child satisfied until dinner time, make sure that you’re offering a healthy after school snack that is on the heartier side. (Keeping in mind, of course, that there are situations when one snack just won’t do: growth spurts, sports practices and games, teenagers in general.)
The best way to do this is to make sure you’re including a bit of protein into the snack.
Protein can help you feel fuller longer, plus, it’s a necessary component of a healthy diet for our kids’ growing bodies. And, anecdotally, I know if I give my kids a cheese stick or a spoonful of peanut butter as their snack, they’re not asking for another one quite as quickly.
So, you get to provide your child with a healthy afternoon snack and avoid being asked for another snack in 10 minutes.
- Hummus with pretzels and veggies (baby carrots, cucumber sticks, sliced peppers)
- A cheese stick and grapes
- Greek yogurt with fruit and granola
- Peanut butter with apple slices
After School Snack Panic #2:
My Child Only Wants Sweets After School!
Does your child turn up his nose at the healthy after-school snack you’ve prepared and ask for cookies instead?
Solution: Welcome Him Home with Healthier Homemade Sweets
You’re not going to win every battle, so instead of going head-to-head with your hangry child every afternoon, be prepared with a compromise.
We both know that you probably can’t label any cookie (even homemade) as truly healthy, but you can at least make a healthier alternative. Pinterest is chock-full of healthy baked goods recipes, but my favorite is this banana chocolate chip “breakfast” cookie. This cookie boasts of being “whole grain, gluten-free, vegan, no added refined sugar, no oil, no butter, 100% clean-eating,” and I can attest that it will still satisfy your child’s sweet tooth.
Your kids will be thrilled to come home to a tray of these “sweets.”
And, you’ll feel like Super Mom.
After School Snack Panic #3:
We’re On-the-Go All Afternoon!
Between soccer practice, ballet rehearsals, and the doctor’s appointment you squeezed in before kindergarten pick-up, does it feel like you’re in the car all afternoon?
Solution: Pack Easy and Healthy On-the-Go Snacks.
The only thing worse than hearing, “Mom, I’m hungry!” over and over again, is hearing it when you’re in the car.
So, save yourself a guilt-ridden trip through the drive-through by bringing along some healthy snacks.
Choose foods that can be eaten without utensils, are relatively contained messes (rice is not invited), and are shelf-stable. And, if you plan on storing these snacks in your car, make sure they’re able to withstand changes in temperature.
With a little planning ahead, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief the next time you hear, “Can I have a snack?” coming from the backseat of the minivan.
You’ve got this.
- Applesauce pouches (These are our current favorite)
- Kashi Chocolate Chip Chia Bars
- Nature’s Baker Fig Bars
After School Snack Panic #4:
I Know She Should Eat More Veggies, but I’m Not Sure How!
Do you feel a constant Mom Guilt about not feeding your child enough vegetables? (First of all, I’m sure you’re not alone.)
Solution: Green Smoothies!
Finding a great green smoothie recipe can really up your snack-time game. The fruit gives it a sweetness that your kids will love, and you’ll love knowing that it’s packed with healthy fruits and vegetables.
If you need some help getting started, this post from the co-founder of Simple Green Smoothies includes some great tips on crafting a perfect green smoothie, including the best ratio of fruits to leafy greens.
It really only takes a few minutes to throw the ingredients into the blender, but a smoothie always feels like a special treat. And when it’s loaded with tons of nutrient-dense greens, too?
Bonus Tip: If you want to hold onto summer a bit longer, try turning your favorite green smoothies into popsicles!
After School Snack Panic #5:
I Can’t Keep Up!
Are you running to the store multiple times a week to grab “just a few more” snacks?
Solution: Enlist Some Help.
You’ve got a lot on your plate, Mama, so why not let someone else handle the after school snacks? There are plenty of subscription services that will deliver delicious food right to your front door.
Right to your front door!
Two of our favorites here at Mighty Moms are NatureBox and Amazon Subscribe & Save. With both services, you select items ahead of time to be delivered on a certain day (you can customize your delivery frequency), so all you have to do is unpack the box into your pantry.
NatureBox: Healthy Snacks to Your Door
NatureBox has over 100 snacks to choose from – with more being added every month – that are all made without artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. You can search for snacks that meet your exact dietary needs and preferences using highly specific filters such as “no sugar added,” “good source of protein,” and “vegan.” They will even refund you if you don’t like a particular snack!
Subscribe & Save: Set It and Forget It
You’ve likely come across Amazon Subscribe & Save before. When you’ve chosen an eligible item on Amazon, you have to specify when adding to your cart if you would like to “Subscribe & Save” or if it is a “One-time Purchase.”
When you choose “Subscribe & Save,” you’ll save 5% right off the bat, and if you choose five items for the same delivery date, you’ll save 15%. You can change your delivery frequency or cancel your subscription at any time.
Bonus Tip: You can also use Amazon Subscribe & Save for diapers, cleaners, and other household items.
Snack Disaster Averted!
Nothing can ruin an afternoon quite like a cranky, hungry child and a stressed out, unprepared Mama.
But a bit of advance planning and creativity in the kitchen?
Well you’ve just eliminated snacktime stress from your day!
- Your chronic snacker has a heartier snack to keep him satisfied.
- The child with a sweet tooth has a healthy alternative.
- Your car-seat bound toddler has some travel-friendly snacks.
- The family veggie-loather is unknowingly slurping her greens in a yummy smoothie.
And you? Well, you don’t even have to re-stock your pantry because your subscription service has got your back.
While there are plenty of things during the after school hours that can send you into a panic: sports and activities, clingy toddlers, homework drama (just to name a few), you can leave after-school snacks off that list.
You won’t have to hide in the pantry the next time you hear “Can I have something to eat?”
You’ve got this snack-panic mastered.
What are the go-to after school snacks in your house? (I’m always excited to try new things!)
Have You Read These Yet?
- Dear Homemaker: Use These 70 Life-Hacks to Steal More Time
- HelloFresh: The Best Thing to Happen To Your Kitchen Since Refrigeration
- 18 Easy Picnic Food Ideas That Will Make Your Kids Crave Seconds
- The Ultimate Challenge: How to Feed Your Family with Little Ones Underfoot
- How to Fast Track Your Healthy Meal Planning
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Kim is an American expat living in the Cayman Islands with her husband of six years and their two rambunctious little boys. She spends her days chasing her children around the park with sunscreen and avoiding the mound of laundry that needs to be folded (at least it’s clean!). Click here to learn more about Kim.