Kids typically come home from school hungry. That means there’s plenty of time between their last class and dinner not only to ruin their appetites, but to do it with snacks that offer no nutritional benefit.
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Andrea Rumschlag, RD, a pediatric dietitian, suggests that parents think about the after-school snack plan ahead of time. That way, even if parents are not home when school lets out, they can give their kids good options.
“You might not have full control over what they’re going to have in that moment, but you do have some control beforehand by having these things available,” says Rumschlag. “With a little advanced planning, you’ll have some things ready to go.”
“Maybe it’s a basket in the pantry or the fridge that holds the ‘afterschool snacks.’”
How to involve kids in planning
Rumschlag suggests that parents provide a list of choices to their kids and let them choose which snacks they prefer. Just make sure the snacks are easy to reach.
Some good options:
- A bowl full of fruit
- A basket of high-fiber granola bars or crackers
- Light microwave popcorn
- High-fiber cereal with skim milk
- String cheese
Multigrain chips: read the label
Rumschlag says to be careful about offering multi-grain chips because some are not as healthy as you might think.
“Look for a cracker or a chip or any type of grain product that has at least 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving,” says Rumschlag. “Then we know it’s made with whole grains and 100 percent whole wheat. If you see anything with one gram or less, that means they have added a few whole grains but not enough to get the nutritional benefit from them.”
Rumschlag says younger kids might like a “fruit kabob” after school. You can also cut different fruits into shapes by using a cookie cutter.
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