BIG NEWS (in my household at least)…....
The eldest has started school! It's been an emotional week (for me mostly, he’s been fine!) but it has sparked a new blog post.
Each day after pick up, despite having a decent school lunch and their scheduled fruit snacks, he's been totally ravenous and practically begged me for food the minute we walk through the door. Can anyone else relate to this?
Thankfully, after day 1, I was prepared for the nagging and have planned not only some nutritious snacks to see him through until teatime but also a blog post so I can share my ideas with you.....
An after-school snack can be an important and helpful energy boost for children. By the time they’re home it’s probably been several hours since their last meal and, for my son at least, the fruit and milk snack clearly isn't enough to sustain the energy demands of the school day. But it’s not just about the energy. It’s also a chance to get some important vitamins and minerals into their energetic bodies. So avoid reaching for the biscuit tin (full of energy but low on the vitamins and minerals) and take a look at my top 10 after-school snack ideas.
They're aimed at stopping the nagging and topping up energy whilst providing plenty of vitamin and minerals. Most importantly they are also super quick and easy to prepare using everyday foods (no raw cacao, chia seed coated, powerballs here – I’m not organised enough for all that jazz on a school day!)
1. Pitta pizzas – if the kids are desperate for a snack the minute the walk through the door why not prepare the toppings for your pitta bread before you head out on the school run. Then when you get home all need to do is stick ‘em under the grill for a couple of minutes, cut them into bite sized pieces and you’re done. Of course, if the kids won’t even wait that long you can cook them in advance and take them with you at pick up time – who doesn’t like cold pizza?!
2. Fruit kebabs – reaching for the fruit bowl is a great idea for a snack at any time of the day but if an apple just won’t cut it after a long day at school, have a go at these easy but effective fruit kebabs to get the kids a bit more excited about fruit
3. Yoghurt with frozen berries – with yoghurt to support good bones and teeth and berries to boost the immune system what more could you want from a snack?!
4. Veggie pots – leave a few of these in the fridge or on the kitchen table when the kids come home and watch them tuck in. Try combining a vegetable they enjoy with less familiar ones to encourage them to try new things. When they are at their hungriest they might just surprise you!
5. Hard boiled eggs – eggs are a great source of lean protein but are also high in vitamin D, B12 and B2 meaning they are great for supporting bone health, energy release and boosting immune function. Even better - they are easy to prepare. If hard boiled isn’t your thing try scrambled, poached or dippy egg with a few toast soldiers. They are less portable options than hard boiled but just ass nutritious and a good option once you're home if they need something a bit more substantial.
6. Tortilla roll ups – peanut butter and banana in a wholemeal wrap. 3 of the 4 food groups covered and it takes seconds to prepare – winner!
7. Mixed nuts – another super quick snack using stock cupboard ingredients. Nuts are a great source of protein, fibre, healthy fats and also contain some iron, zinc, selenium magnesium and B vitamins. Need I say more....? (Side note- avoid salted or honey roasted versions and bear in mind that whole nuts are not recommended for the under 5’s due to choking risk). If you want to add some sweetness try a sprinkle of raisins or other dried fruit such as apricots.
8. Dips and sticks - hummus, cream cheese or avocado dips with vegetable sticks make a great combo and are packed full of vitamins and minerals.
9. Cinnamon popcorn – did you know that popcorn is a wholegrain food and, providing the salt, sugar and toffee coatings are left out, make a great wholesome snack which supports healthy gut health? Sprinkle some cinnamon and a touch of dried fruit for natural flavour and sweetness if desired.
10. Cheese and crackers – your child’s favourite cheese on their favourite cracker. What’s not to like?
If, after a snack, they are still nagging for food and all the usual distractions don't appease, there's no harm in bringing tea forward. If they really are that hungry a well balanced tea with plenty of veg might go down more easily than normal. And if you're worried that an early tea might mean hunger before bed just offer another small snack from the list above. I'll take an early tea over an 'hangry' school child any day!