After School Snack Attacks

SONY DSCAfter school snacks are more than just a habit, most kids really need that middle of the afternoon fuel. Afternoon snacking helps refuel kids and may also help them study better. Kids generally eat smaller portions than adults and need to refuel more often.

Good-for-you snacks start with a proper pantry. Stock your refrigerator and shelves with foods that are fast — not fussy.

These ideas for healthy snacks keep fat and calories at bay and maximize whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Best of all, you can make them all in 10 minutes or less.

Some ideas include:

  • Toast one-half of a whole-wheat English muffin. Top with Canadian bacon, a tomato slice, and low-fat cheese. Microwave until the cheese melts.
  • Mash a half banana into peanut butter and spread on a whole-grain bagel. Be aware that large bagels can have up to 400 calories each, so choose a small — 2 ounce — bagel.
  • Mix cold leftover chicken or convenience-type chunk chicken with seedless grapes, sunflower seeds, plain yogurt and a dash of curry powder. Stuff into a hollowed-out green pepper or whole-wheat pita pocket.
  • Spread one-half of a small cinnamon-raisin bagel with part-skim ricotta cheese. Top with apple slices.
  • Layer soft mini corn or flour tortillas with shredded low-fat cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese. Microwave until the cheese melts. Slice into bite-size pie shapes.
  • Spread a brown rice cake with ricotta cheese and fresh strawberries or low-sugar, spreadable fruit. Or try spreading it with herbed goat cheese and sliced olives.
  • Top a baked potato with plain yogurt and Cajun seasoning. Don’t like spice? Top with cottage cheese.
  • Spread raisin toast with apple butter.  Serve with a string cheese stick.
  • Spread a slice of whole-grain crispbread (Wasa crispbread, Ry-Krisp, others) with fruit-flavored low-fat yogurt or 100 percent fruit jam.
  • 100% Whole Wheat crackers with mozzarella or low fat cheese
  • Make regular oatmeal in the microwave and top with dried fruit and skim milk.
  • Serve low fat graham crackers with peanut butter with a glass of milk, dried fruit mixed with sunflower seeds.
  • Make a sandwich of a whole wheat tortilla rolled around low-fat cheese, salsa and lettuce.
  • Baby carrots and dip in low fat salad dressing.
  • Pop popcorn and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Blend nonfat yogurt and frozen mango chunks into a smoothie.
  • Peel bananas, wrap in plastic and freeze.
  • Berries, 1 tsp ground flaxseed and 1 cup plain yogurt.
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