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Kids love their after-school snacks.
If your kids are like mine, they come home from school and head right to the refrigerator for an after-school snack. Despite eating breakfast, lunch AND a snack, somehow they’re (apparently) famished.
After-school snacks can tide your kids over for awhile but if they eat filling foods or overeat, they won’t be hungry come dinner. Instead, afternoon snacks with a combination of protein and fiber will satisfy their hunger without making them too full.
1. Kale chips
I don’t believe in sneaking vegetables into meals or making faces out of food so your kids will eat but I don’t see the harm in preparing one type of food in various ways.
If you can’t get your kid to eat green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale, try making kale chips and watch as your kids will devour them. The next time you make a kale salad or a meal with cooked kale, they may be more likely to try it.
Kale is nutrient dense and an excellent source of vitamin A and lutein for healthy eyes and a good source of calcium for healthy teeth and bones.
2. Hummus and Jicama
If you’re trying to add more plant-based foods in your family’s diet, hummus is a great food to serve for after-school snacks.
Chickpeas are a great source of protein, fiber and iron and sesame seeds which are used in tahini are an excellent source of minerals like zinc, copper and calcium for bone health.
Although you can serve any vegetable with hummus, I like jicama (pronounced HEE-kah-ma), which tastes like a combination of a pear and a water chestnut. Jicama is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium and filling fiber.
A rich source of vitamins and antioxidants, celery is one of the healthiest vegetables you can feed your kids. One cup contains an amazing 5 grams of fiber which will keep your kid satiated and even prevent constipation.
If your kids like foods with a crunch, celery is a great one to swap in for chips. Add a bit of peanut butter or almond butter for protein and a delicious after-school snack.
4. Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is a good source of protein but most yogurts, especially those marketed to kids, have a ton of sugar.
Instead of flavored yogurt, serve your kids plain, Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries like raspberries which are an excellent source of fiber, have a low glycemic load and are super-tasty.
5. Green Smoothies
Like kale, serving a smoothie isn’t a way to sneak vegetables but it can be another way to get in a serving.
A good rule of thumb: the 80/20 rule. Eighty-percent green leafy vegetables and 20 percent fruit. Add some chia seeds for protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health.