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After-school snacks that are tasty and sneakily healthy

Cynthia is a mom of three little kids living in the DC area, who is also a runner and a triathlete. With a challenging but rewarding job in performing arts management, her work hours are often long and involve weekends, evenings, and tra...

Your child will eat up these healthy after-school snack ideas

Let’s face it. School is starting and for busy moms, the focus is on first day of school outfits, school supplies, the fall activity schedule, and getting back into the routine of rushed mornings. The preparations, both tactical and mental, are in full force with trips to shopping malls, office supply stores, and evenings contemplating the calendar with conflicting kids' schedules.

With all this focus on getting ready, it may come as a shock when the kids get off the bus and need an after school snack before they can get focused on homework, karate, or ballet.

But feeding them a candy bar or convenience food isn't the only option for busy, on-the-go moms - there are other tricks to have up the sleeve to satiate even the hungriest active kid. Having the refrigerator and pantry stocked with nutritious after school snacks can make the difference between a child who has the focus for homework, the energy for after school athletics, or the patience at music lessons.

So what should you feed your children who need filling and nutritious snacks?

1. Ants on a log

Your child will eat up these healthy after-school snack ideas
Image: William Barry/Flickr

This classic nutritious after school snack can provide kids with a delicious and nutritious alternative to chips when they want a bit of a crunch. Slice up celery and smear cream cheese in the center ridge. Add some raisins or other dried fruit and voila - crunch away.

2. Veggie sticks and kid-created Dip

Your child will eat up these healthy after-school snack ideas
Image: Stephen Rees/Flickr

Making your own dip for veggies is simple, and an easy way to get the kids involved in the kitchen. Using Greek yogurt and a few add-ins such as dill, kids can prep this dip at the beginning of the week and then taste their creation when they return home from school each day.

3. Mini fun-shaped sandwich bites

Your child will eat up these healthy after-school snack ideas
Image: Marju Randmer/Flickr

The trick to this after school snack is in the shape of the standby-favorite sandwich. Take a child's favorite sandwich, chop it into quarters, and then form into stars, hearts, or Mickey Mouse ears with a paring knife and it's not a boring sandwich - it's a delightful treat.

4. Cheese-tower crackers

Your child will eat up these healthy after-school snack ideas
Image: Raqib Chowdhury/Flickr

Filling and simple, piling a few slices of cheese onto a cracker can be a fun game of tower-building. Pile them on their edge instead of the flat side of the cheese slice for the uber-competitive competitions, then eat your rewards.

5. Rainbow fruit skewers

Your child will eat up these healthy after-school snack ideas
Image: Marie LaConte/Flickr

Again, presentation is everything and making a playful skewer out of sliced fruit with rainbow colors can turn a cranky kid into a happy kid. Dip the fruit into yogurt or another dipper, or drizzle with honey for a splash of fun.

6. Trail-mix buffet

Your child will eat up these healthy after-school snack ideas
Image: Priscilla/Flickr

Set out small bowls of raisins, coconut, cereal, dried fruit, granola, or popcorn (or even nuts if you don't need peanut-free snacks), and give each child a small snack bag. Have them scoop out the proportions that they prefer and they'll be excited to get started on homework so they can munch on their creation while they work.

7. Sneaky nutrition

Your child will eat up these healthy after-school snack ideas
Image: Cynthia Steele/SheKnows

Another great nutritious after school snack option are PediaSure Grow & Gain Shakes. These shakes are portable, which make them ideal for busy families on the go. They contain 25 essential vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants from vitamins C & E, selenium, lutein for eye health, and DHA Omega-3 for eye and brain health. It's a great way to sneak in some nutrition on the road between school and after school activities. The shakes are gluten free, kosher, and come in Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Banana, and Berry flavors.

Serving nutritious after school snacks that involve and entice the kids can inspire them in their daily lives. They'll have a solid foundation for nutritious snacking for the future, better focus, and more energy from the nutrients they'll be consuming after school.

And as for busy moms? Sharing a few moments with the young student to hear about their day over a snack is priceless.

What's your typical after school routine? Share in the comments!

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between PediaSure® and SheKnows

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