School holidays can easily throw parents off their usual track and understandably getting back into the swing of things can be a challenge. However with a little planning a healthy routine can easily be regained. A question I often get asked is what to feed children after school? Many parents find their children coming home from school starved and seeking sugar rich food for an energy boost. Coming up with snacks which are going to appeal, provide sustained energy for homework and play and won’t spoil dinner can be tricky! To help you on your way here are my favourite after school snack ideas.
To best support your child’s energy needs, ideally after school snacks should be based around a healthy balance of the three macronutrients:
Protein (amino acids): important for growth, development and repair of muscles, organs, glands and cells; essential amino acids must be consumed in the diet.
Examples: cheese, yoghurt, milk, eggs, meat, legumes, nuts/seeds, seafood.
Carbohydrates (low-glycaemic): important for growth, development, energy production and concentrated source of B-vitamins and other minerals.
Examples: rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, fruit, wholegrain pasta, wholegrain bread
Fats: important for brain and nervous system development, brain is mostly made up of fat.
Examples: avocado, nuts/seeds, olive oil, chia seeds, flaxseed, fatty fish.
Snacks ideal for a cool or wet weather day.
Mountain Bread Wraps
1 mountain bread wrap spread with hummus, sliced tomato, grated cheese and optional avocado, folded over and toasted, cut in half and serve.
½ cup cooked wholegrain pasta tossed through homemade pesto, topped with diced avocado.
Couscous Jewel Salad
1/3 cooked wholegrain couscous combined with chickpeas, diced dried apricots, pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese.
Mashed Avocado & Homemade Pita Chips
Take 1 pita bread, drizzle with olive oil, cut into triangles, place on a baking tray and sprinkle with optional parmesan cheese, bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool and serve with mashed avocado.
Snacks ideal for when the temperature sores.
Fruit Yoghurt Ice-Blocks
Blend 1 cup fruit pulp (eg strawberries/mango), 1 cup natural yoghurt, 1 tbsp. LSA and optional honey. Pour into ice-block moulds and freeze.
Banana & Date Smoothie
Blend 1 frozen banana, ¾ cup milk, 1 fresh date, pinch cinnamon and ½ tbsp. chia seeds, serve immediately.
On the Go Snacks
If your child has a busy schedule and numerous extracurricular activities these snacks are ideal as they can be taken on the go:
In the morning combine ¼ cup oats/muesli, ½ cup milk, place in fridge, before pick up add 1 grated apple/pear and optional drizzle honey/berries.
Berry Yoghurt & Crunch
Blend together ½ cup natural yoghurt, ¼ cup berries and optional honey. Top with mixed puffed quinoa, pumpkin and sunflower seeds or store-bought seed mix. Place in a small container with a spoon.
Mixed Bean Wraps
Take one wrap, top with drained/rinsed mixed beans, grated cheese, diced tomato and avocado, roll up tightly and secure. Cut in half if necessary and take on the road!
Rinse and dry 1 x can 400g chickpeas, toss chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil and spices of choice (eg paprika, cumin, rosemary) pour the mixture on a lined baking tray and roast for 20mins tossing regularly, continue to roast for another 20min, let chickpeas cool and dry off in the oven before removing. Store in airtight containers, serve on their own or alongside cheese cubes or add to nuts/seed mixes.