After school snacks dietitians recommend
Healthy ways to cure hungry tummies
Lite n’ Easy Dietitian Melissa Holloway shares some ideas for busting after school hunger and keeping kids happy, healthy and satisfied.
As we gear up for the back-to-school period, you might need to change your mindset from at-home grazing, to serious after-school hunger management.
When the last chance to eat before the end of school is lunch time, it leaves a yawning gap for hungry tummies nearer the end of the day. For many kids, it’s too large a gap to bear between lunch and dinner. When left up to the child, they will often go for the easiest and tastiest option they know how to access. So to avoid an afternoon raid on the ice-cream tub, it’s best to plan ahead and have some great tasting options available that are also healthy.
1. Breakfast for afternoon tea
A small bowl of muesli, yoghurt and fruit is a delicious mini-meal. Packed with fibre and protein, it will keep those tummies settled until dinner time. Keep some diced fresh fruit such as strawberries, pineapple, melon, apple or orange in the fridge to make the fruit easily accessible.
Prep some smoothie mixes at the start of the week, either straight into the cups or into containers. All you or your child needs to do is add any other ingredients (e.g. water, yoghurt or milk) and blend. These are great options for adding a bit of extra veg, fibre and fluid into their day.
3. Crunchy dippers
If your child is not wildly hungry and is happy to munch on veggie sticks, then these are a great snack-size option before dinner. Having them with hummus or tzatziki means they’re more likely to be eaten, and adds extra nutrition. Veggie sticks can be prepped a couple of days in advance. Keep them in water so they stay fresh.
4. The humble sandwich
Make up some basic sandwiches using wholemeal or multigrain bread (e.g. ham and cheese) and place them into the freezer in freezer-bags. When it’s time, just grab one out of the freezer and defrost in the microwave. Add anything else to them such as spinach leaves or tomato slices and toast in a pan or sandwich press. Mini-meal in minutes!
5. Cheese and crackers
Cheese and crackers are a surprisingly filling option to have as a snack. Wholegrain crackers such as Vita-Weats are great because they provide extra fibre and other nutrients. Add some avocado, sliced tomato and cucumber or diced fruit to make it a more filling and nutritious snack.
6. Turn leftovers into snacks
For the teens in your household, satisfying afternoon hunger can be like trying to fill a bottomless pit! And kids in this age group are not always the most motivated when it comes to preparing healthy snacks. This is where a stash of convenient, ready to heat and eat options in the freezer can come in handy. Containers of leftovers that are pre-portioned and ready to be thrown in the microwave are ideal. Why not save yourself the hassle of pre-preparing food and keep a few of Lite n’ Easy’s smaller meals like Lite Bites, Mini Meals or Easy Bites in the freezer for just this purpose.
7. Forget snacks – skip straight to dinner
If you’re working full time and have little ones to collect from day care or after school care, the after school rush can be a seriously stressful experience. You’ve raced out of work just in time to avoid the day care late pickup fee. The kids are tired and cranky, and by the time you walk in the door it’s starting to get dark. You now have some serious decision making to contend with – do you give them a snack now, and risk spoiling their dinner, or deal with tantrum central while you try and pull together world’s fastest dinner? This is where Easy Bites come in. Easy Bites are a range of smaller meals that contain protein, carbs and even some veggies, but best of all, there is zero prep involved – you just need to heat it so they can eat it! With a stash of Easy Bites in the freezer, the little ones could be eating dinner mere minutes after you walk in the door, earning you precious minutes to unwind and get on with the evening routine.
Why Lite n’ Easy?
Lite n’ Easy has a variety of options to suit all tastes and budgets. Our meals are great for when you’re on the go by giving you everything you need. We even have smaller meal options that make a delicious, healthy meal for the kids. Give us a call on 13 15 12 or click here to order now.
Melissa Holloway is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with extensive experience working in foodservice across a range of industries including aged care, elite sport and in hospitals. She is passionate about ensuring people have access to not only fresh and healthy food options, but also that people get to choose food that they truly enjoy. As a busy Mum, Melissa loves preparing healthy and delicious food for her family.