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Healthy after-school snacks kids love

The kids are home and hungry, but dinner’s not for a few hours. With a little inspiration, you can serve up healthy after-school snacks that kids love — and that won’t kill their appetites for supper.

Veggies and dip

1Veggies/fruit & Dip

Veggies and fruit are never a bad snack idea, and if your kids like to dip, take advantage. Homemade dips are easy and fun. Fat-free Greek yogurt is an excellent healthy base for so many flavorful dips. Try serving cucumber rounds and carrot chips with homemade tzatziki, or strawberries and grapes with a yogurt-honey dip.

2Toasted pita chips with black bean hummus

Pita chips are delicious, and the whole-grain varieties are good for you, too. Instead of buying pita chips at the store, buy whole-grain pitas, cut them into triangles, and bake them yourself for a healthier version. Black bean hummus is a kid-friendly dip that doesn’t have the overwhelming garlic flavor that turns kids off from traditional hummus.

3DIY snack mix

Give your kids a snack and an after-school activity by setting out small bowls of various snacks (almonds, sunflower seeds, air-popped popcorn, raisins and/or other dried fruit, a few dark chocolate chips, woven wheat or rice-cereal squares, whole-grain pretzel sticks… you get the idea. Then give each of your children a plastic sandwich bag and allow them to customize their own snack mix, adding their favorites to the snack sack.

4Cheese & fill-in-the-blank

Good ol’ cheese and crackers have gotten a bad rap, but a serving of string cheese served with whole-grain crackers, an apple or even a slice or turkey provides a powerful protein-filled snack that most kids like.

5mini meals

Turn a regular meal into an after-school snack by making a miniature version of the mealtime favorite. If your kids crave peanut butter sandwiches, use small cookie cutters to make cute mini versions that will fill them up without spoiling their dinner. In fact, you can do this with practically any sandwich, as well as other foods that walk the line between snack and meal. Instead of serving an entire turkey cheese wrap, for example, slice the wrap up into bite-sized cylinders, then have your children share.

6Homemade cereal or granola bars

While handing your child a pre-packaged cereal or granola bar seems like a simple solution, many of these are loaded with sugar. Even if you are not a chef, homemade cereal bars and granola bars are not too difficult. Find yourself a quick and easy recipe — and once you get comfortable with it, you can tweak it to your liking.

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