It’s the end of the summer holidays for school kids and it is a great time to re-evaluate what items you pack in their lunch boxes and what after school snacks are on hand. Highly processed, high sugar, high fat and high GI foods are always advertised in supermarket brochures as ‘after school snacks’. This article will give you some much healthier, low GI snack ideas for your hungry children!
Keep in mind that most kids shouldn’t require a lot of food after school – just a small snack to tide them over to dinner. It’s common now that children are grazing a lot on high energy foods after school and consuming the equivalent energy of another meal. This can encourage unnecessary weight gain which can lead to problems in later life. Encourage your children to get outside and play as well.
The first set of suggestions are very easy and quick to prepare but involve a small amount of preparation. The second set of suggestions involve little to no preparation and are also very nutritious options! Serve afternoon tea with water.
A little preparation…
- “Chips and dip”. Choose a wrap such as Goodness Superfoods wholegrain barley wraps (great fibre content and low GI!) and bake one in the oven until crispy. Break it up in to chip like pieces and serve with a healthy salsa made from diced tomato, a small amount of avocado, shallots, coriander and lime juice. It’s a much healthier take on chips and dip and is also a great option for parties or when you want something healthier to snack on whilst watching a movie.
- Vegetable fritters: There are many healthy recipes online. Add whatever vegetables you like e.g. spinach, tomato, zucchini and corn and combine with egg and flour. Cook in a pan with just a light spray of extra virgin olive oil. A small amount of fat reduced cheese can also be added if you need to fit another serve of dairy in. These can be made in advance and ready for your children when they arrive home. Depending on the size you make them, kids shouldn’t need more than a couple.
- Rice paper rolls: These can be a little fiddly at first but they are a great, healthy snack! Pick up some rice paper wraps and fill them with vegetables and a small amount of protein if you like e.g. prawns, tuna, tofu – then wrap them up and eat!
- “Ice cream”: Frozen fruit such as banana and strawberries can be blended to an ice cream like consistency but a much healthier version. Remember that the fruit will count towards your child’s daily intake – if this means they will be consuming in excess of 2 pieces of fruit in the day then it’s best to go for another option so other food groups do not get displaced e.g. a grain option.
In a rush? These items are really quick to prepare or grab out of the fridge. They will also help to squeeze some extra nutrition in to your kid’s day.
- Dairy snack: Yoghurt, milk or a small amount of cheese are good options. Many children don’t meet their calcium needs so this can be a good opportunity to do just that.
- Frozen yoghurt: Freeze your own low fat, no added sugar yoghurt for a healthier take on the pre-made ones.
- Cheese and biscuits: 4 multigrain Vita Wheat biscuits or 2 Ryvita biscuits with thin slices of fat reduced cheese and tomato.
- Vegetables sticks e.g. carrot, cucumber, capsicum, celery, and mushroom. This can be served with a small amount of fat reduced tzatziki or tomato salsa.
Again, most children (and adults) are not getting enough vegetables in their day – snacking on them can really help and be a good habit to get in to!
- Fruit: 2 pieces of fruit each day is the recommendation. If they haven’t had their two pieces already then afterschool is a great time. You can make it more fun by cutting in to interesting shapes or letting them make fruit kebabs (make sure younger children remove the fruit from the stick before eating it, so they don’t pierce themselves).
- Frozen fruit: Children love frozen fruit, it’s great for summer and because it’s frozen they pace their eating, leaving them feeling more satisfied. Good fruits for freezing include grapes (make sure your child is age appropriate), mango, berries and orange.
- 1 slice of multigrain bread with 1 slice of fat reduced cheese and tomato
- Nuts and seeds: 30g is one serving
- Legumes: One small tin of legumes e. four bean mix served with lettuce and tomato.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about healthy eating, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns.
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