Do your kids come home from school and immediately reach into the pantry or refrigerator looking for something to eat? It’s not surprising that most kids are hungry after school is over. Many schools have early lunch then an afternoon of classes and sometimes after-school activities before students get a chance to eat again.
When kids are hungry, they are more inclined to eat what’s handy. No wonder the snack food vending machine looks more appealing as the day goes by! While you may not always be able to control what your kids eat in the late afternoon, we can figure out a happy medium. Let’s make sure that your kids can enjoy a snack while still having room for dinner.
Make healthy snacks readily and easily available by packing them in their lunch boxes or backpacks, or by having them visible at home. Leave something healthy up front and center on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator. For nights when dinner is hours away, a substantial snack like a half-sandwich could be a healthy option for snack time. Some other ideas for easy to grab snacks are fruit (apples, grapes, bananas), low-sugar granola bars, pretzels and hummus.
Most importantly, talk to your kids about which snacks they would like to have at snack time. Come up with a list of healthy options together, or better yet, take your kids along to the grocery store and spend some time teaching your kids about nutrition fact labels. Together, you can choose snacks that are low in sugar, fat, and salt. Involving your kids in the process makes it more likely for them to learn to make healthy food choices in the future.