I bet you've heard that before. Did you know that most children need to eat every three to four hours to replenish energy stores and recharge their bodies? An after-school snack is a necessary component of a school-age child's overall nutrition intake. Here's how to satisfy the hunger monster after school:
Use the Food Guide Pyramid to plan after-school snacks, just as you do for meals. Instead of reaching for food that is high in calories, primarily from sugar or fat, such as cookies, candies and sweet snacks, use these guidelines:
- Choose whole-grain foods such as bagels, English muffins, breads and cereals to provide energy, fiber and a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
- Include fruits and vegetables for color, variety, crunch, taste and nutrition.
- Include foods with protein, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, tuna, poultry and meat products; they are necessary for growing children.
- Limit added fat and sugars as much as possible.
Simple Snack Suggestions
These snack suggestions are simple for older children to make themselves, meet nutrition needs and of course taste great:
- Mini-pizzas made on English muffins, topped with low-fat cheese and veggies.
- Cold or hot cereal topped with fruit and low-fat milk.
- Sandwiches made with pita bread, bagels, rice cakes or whole-wheat bread.
- Bite-sized pieces of raw veggies paired with a dip made from low-fat ranch dressing.