Get Your Snack On

Grabbing a bag of potato chips is easy, but providing your kids with a healthy, tasty after-school snack is the difference between a budding brain and a growing waistline. Plus, it gives you time to bond with your child. Take an opportunity to chat about her day at school as you whip up these amazing snacks. We rounded up ideas from real moms about the after-school snack rituals in their lives.

Apple slices with almond butter

Apples and almond butter

"My kids love apples with almond butter (or peanut butter)," says Verona Andrews of Momtastic. "I serve them sliced apples with a serving of almond butter on the side and let them spread it on the apple slices themselves. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and savory, plus it gives them a quick break from their homework each time they stop to spread the almond butter."

Apple nachos

"Apples are an after-school snack staple," says Laura Powell of Real Mom Kitchen, "but I have a couple of other ways to enjoy those crisp and juicy apples. Why not have some apple nachos?" Here you can get the lowdown on that tasty caramel-and-nut concoction.

Healthy cookies

"’Can I have a snack?’ That's the first thing my boys ask when they get home after school. They are always ravenous -- often begging for something sweet, although they usually want a substantial 'power snack' as well. It can be a challenge to find something healthy and filling that doesn't take a lot of effort to make," says Michaela Preston of Mindful Momma. Preston makes healthy cookies from peanut butter and oatmeal to keep her boys full and focused.

Strawberry banana smoothies

"When I pick my kids up at school, we drive by one of our city’s popular ice cream drive-ups as well as past our favorite frozen lemonade stand. On occasion, on super hot summer days we’ll stop there after school as a treat, but I wasn’t really ready to start that in March. Not yet. It’s an expensive treat, one we don’t do too often," says Jennifer Cowart of The Whole Bag of Chips. Instead, she opts to blend yogurt, ice, strawberries and bananas into a cool, summer-appropriate treat that won’t break the bank.

Fruit, yogurt and granola parfaits

"The after-school snack is one of my favorite memories from childhood. I remember coming home from school and my mom would have little parfait cups full of pudding, or homemade chocolate chip cookies, or a big batch of popcorn made. I was excited to see what treat she would have out when we got home. I wanted to give my kids the same happy memories, so I have really been trying to have a snack ready when they get home," says Tiffany Erickson of Raising Lemons. She goes healthy with fruit, yogurt and granola parfaits. Still fun, but far better for you!

Watch: How to make healthy snacks your kids will eat

When it comes to afternoon snacks for your children, tasting good and being healthy don't have to be mutually exclusive. It just takes a little planning.

More snack ideas

Why yogurt is great for kids
Avoid the meltdown: Tips for keeping treats cool
Sweet summer after-school treats

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