Giving the after-school snack a healthy makeover

after-school snack

After spending all day at school, children are hungry! Give them an afternoon snack that tastes good and is good for them.

Kids need to refuel between lunch and dinner, and they look forward to their afternoon snack when they return home from school. But don’t feed their growing bodies and brains just any snack. They adore sugary treats and would gladly eat packaged biscuits, cakes and pastries all day, every day. However, why not give them options that taste great but are also well-balanced?

To get your kids off to a brilliant academic year, provide after-school snacks that are chock full of protein, fibre, vitamins and good fats. Bonus: you’ll help them develop good eating habits that will last their entire lives.

Ideas for healthy sweet snacks

There’s no need to shun sugar for your child’s after-school snack. In fact, doing so may backfire, as kids might start feeling deprived and sneak sweets without your permission. The idea is to offer them healthier sweet treats that delight their taste buds while giving them the nutrition they need.

Filled with vitamins, minerals and fibre, fruit is the consummate snack for children. Serve them autumn fruits like apples, grapes, pears and plums. If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate that allows fresh figs, these fruits are ultra-sweet – and contain fibre for a healthy digestive system. Easy-peel mandarin oranges are yummy and fun to eat, as are baby bananas. Another delicious option is dried fruits, which are convenient snacks for kids heading to an after-school activity.

Yoghurt makes for a nutritious after-school treat. But rather than buying pots and tubes marketed for children, many of which contain excess sugar, consider serving plain yoghurt and sweetening it yourself with a squeeze of honey or a dollop of jam. Or make a refreshing smoothie by blending yoghurt, frozen fruit and a few ice cubes.

Ideas for healthy sweet-savoury snacks

Salty snacks have the connotation of crisps and other fried treats, but there are so many other options that offer extra nutrition. The next time you’re at the grocery store, look for chips made of lentils, chickpeas, beetroot, sweet potatoes or whole grains.

Children in the US have long subsisted on peanut butter, which is starting to appear on supermarket shelves in southern Europe. When shopping, look for varieties with little or no added sugar. This high-protein spread contains healthy fats that growing children require, and is wonderful when smeared on apples, bananas or even celery sticks. And of course, there’s the delicious PB&J (peanut butter and jelly) sandwich that many American kids adore.

Speaking of which, so many healthy fillings can go in a baguette or between two slices of bread. Here are some ideas for kid-friendly sandwiches:
– hummus and shredded carrots
– spreadable cheese and cucumber slices
– hardboiled egg mashed with mayonnaise and dill weed
– chèvre goat’s cheese and honey
– Nutella and banana slices
– lean ham, medium-hard cheese and lettuce
– wholegrain toast topped with mascarpone, Granny Smith apple, granola and honey

(*) Average meal price calculated on the basis of starter and main course or main course and dessert, excluding drinks, menu and promotional offers. The average price is an estimate only, calculated according to the prices provided by the restaurant. Depending on the country, the average price may or may not include all taxes.