Can after-school snacks be healthy and easy?

PowerUp and reinvent after-school snacks this fall 

Opening a bag of chips or popcorn after school is easy. So is grabbing a few cookies. But creating homemade, healthy after-school snacks is easy, too. For many busy parents sometimes the hardest thing is deciding what to create. That’s why the recipes on powerup4kids.org are great additions to the family snack list. There are no-bake energy bites and mixed-berry crisp, a berry bold banana smoothie and fruit kabobs. In total there are 170 snack recipes to choose for your hungry child after school this year. 

Most of them require little preparation so they’re easy to have on hand. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could make some ahead of time. Just store them in the freezer. Then, it’s even easier to serve them at the start of the school year. 

Eating healthy is important for kids

The best time to establish healthy eating habits is during childhood. When you start them young, it’s easier to keep them. Having a healthy diet is one of the best and simplest ways to prevent diseases down the road. But you don’t have to wait for future benefits because healthy eating is good for children now. 

When kids eat healthy, nutritional foods, it can: 

  • balance out their moods.
  • improve their minds.
  • help them maintain a healthy weight.
  • maintain their energy. 

There are a number of visual charts and images to help guide a child’s nutrition and eating habits. There is MyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a more creative version of that idea. These help you get a sense of how a child’s meal choices should be balanced. There are also a number of charts to help you and your child track how many servings of fruits and vegetables they’re getting in a day. Pinterest is full of creative ideas. Here’s one where you fill out stars representing the different choices. 

Get your kids involved in meal prep

Research shows that only 10% of people love to cook, while 45% said they outright hated it. Another 45% could take or leave it. So why if most people don’t like cooking, would we ever consider dragging it out by having a child help? Because it’s good for them, and we tend to do things that are good for our children. Even if we don’t like it. 

There are many benefits to cooking with kids, as outlined in this blog, from boosting self-confidence to improving reading skills. Plus, it can be fun and provide good family bonding. If you’re interested in learning ways to get your child in the kitchen to help, here are some suggestions. The resource is a downloaded chart that gives ideas by age. There are also countless resources online, too, and cookbooks you can buy with kid-friendly meals. 

Kids are more likely to try meals they cook themselves. So having kids help in the kitchen is a good way to expand the foods they like to eat. 

Eating healthy is a win for the entire family

When you’re trying to instill healthy habits in your children, it’s a good time to examine your own choices. Setting a good example for your child is sometimes the motivation you need. We all can eat better and choose more healthy options. Just try to make it fun and not a chore. Your child will love the extra time with you, and eating better will make everyone feel better. 

If you need additional ideas and inspiration, check out the family magazines that PowerUp creates. They have a lot of creative ideas in them, plus some good recipes. 

Happy cooking! Have fun with it.