Are your kids ravenous when they come home from school? This is completely normal. In addition to being naturally hungry after not eating for 3-4 hours, it is also likely they did not have enough time to finish lunch or ate lunch extremely early! Snacks are a super helpful part of a healthful and well-balanced diet. Snacks are typically necessary for our growing children!

Think of snacks as a “bridge” to our next meal. We want this “bridge” (like any bridge) to be built very STRONG. If our snack is not strong, we may run into the following issues:

  • Not being satisfied
  • Snacking/grazing which leads to arriving at our next meal too full
  • Low energy or fatigue

There is a difference between having a snack vs. snacking (or grazing). Having a solid snack will ensure your child has enough time between snack and dinner to arrive at mealtime with an appropriate hunger level. If a child is overly full at the time the meal is offered, they are more likely to be less interested in the meal or less likely to try a new food or dish. It is a balancing act!

So how to do we make this bridge strong? We need multiple components! Just like a bridge without supports would collapse, a snack with only a carbohydrate (ex. chips) or only a protein (ex. deli meat) is likely insufficient for your child. Another way to think about after school snacks is like a “mini meal”. Hold off on offering treats at snack time and instead offer with or right after meal time.

Choose one item with fiber: Fiber moves more slowly through our GI system which helps keep us more full for longer. Examples:

  • Most fruit and vegetables (ex. apple slices, grapes, berries, kiwi, pears, oranges, carrots,
    peppers, broccoli, celery, edamame, tomatoes, etc)
  • Whole wheat bread or crackers, corn chips, popcorn, oatmeal, granola, or high fiber cereal

Choose another item with protein and/or fat: These options will keep us energized and satiated.

  • Dairy, soy or pea protein based milk, Yogurt, cheese
  • Nut & seed butter, nuts & seeds (almond, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, etc)
  • Hummus, Guacamole, tzatziki, baba ghanoush, olives
  • Deli meat, jerky, seafood

Strong snack ideas: Personalize some of these options based on your child’s preferences and needs!

  • Smoothie- Blend 1 frozen banana, ¾ cup frozen fruit of choice, handful spinach, 8 ounces of milk (dairy, soy or pea protein)
  • Energy bites- see recipe on IG: @sophiedolan.rd
  • Nachos: corn chips with melted cheese dipped into salsa or guac
  • Graham crackers with nut or seed butter with glass of milk
  • Apples + nut butter
  • “Fancy” Cereal – cereal with blueberries, slice banana, nuts/seeds, milk
  • Sandwich- using whole wheat bread make a PBJ, grilled cheese or deli meat
  • “Snack- uterie”- Put together a combo of: cheese, crackers, fruit, olives, etc
  • Yogurt Parfait: Layer plain yogurt, fruit, granola

If you are hungry for more nutrition information and education, feel free to feel free to reach out to Sophie at [email protected] or sign up for a free discovery call. Nutrition consultations are now covered by some health insurance plans. Happy Snacking!

Sophie Burge Dolan MS, RDN, LD

www.sophiedolannutrition.com

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