Is there anything quite like an afternoon snack? For hungry children at the end of a school day, snacks provide an important energy boost when homework or a piano lesson or soccer practice looms. In today’s busy world, parents want to offer nutritious after-school snacks that will help tide their children over until dinner time.

For years, parents were urged to discourage children from eating between meals. To keep young bodies and minds performing well over the course of a long day filled with school, homework and extracurricular activities, though, nutritionists eventually saw the need for snacks throughout the day.

As children will gladly tell you, youngsters need a little something in their bellies to tide them over between meals, and older kids often need extra energy for sports practice and other activities. But what should children be eating at snack time? That’s a good question!

While nutritionists agree that after-school snacks can be a good way to provide needed energy and nutrients, they also stress the importance of serving healthy snacks. Healthy snacks provide nutrients, encourage healthy eating habits and help prevent a wide range of illnesses.

As much as possible, avoid high-calorie, high-sugar and high-fat snacks. Things to avoid include sugary sodas, snack chips, candy, sweets and processed foods low in nutritional value.

Instead, focus on snacks that provide healthy carbohydrates for energy and proteins that build muscle. While bags of chips and cookies may be convenient, experts recommend foregoing these in favor of fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are highly recommended snacks because most children fail to eat enough servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Like healthy snacks should, fruits and vegetables contain important nutrients, such as vitamins and fiber, and help prevent health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure.

Luckily, Mother Nature provides a smorgasbord of choices when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Visit the local grocery store and take a walk through the fruit and produce sections. It won’t take most children long to find several fruits and vegetables that they would gladly snack on after school.

Turning to fruits and vegetables at snack time can also help you save money. Although some people believe fruits and vegetables cost more than other snacks, they are actually less expensive than other less-healthy snacks on a per-serving basis.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average serving of fruits and vegetable costs 25 cents per serving. If you’ve seen the cost of a bag of potato chips or a candy bar recently, you’ll understand how much of a bargain fruits and vegetables can be!

Of course, fruits and vegetables aren’t the only healthy alternatives for after-school snacks. Here are some additional types of foods that many children enjoy as healthy snacks every day:

  • Grains: crackers with cheese, whole-grain cereal, mini rice cakes, graham crackers
  • Dairy: fruit milk shakes, cheese slices, string cheese, mini yogurt cups
  • Protein: hard-boiled eggs, peanut butter on crackers, bean dip, jerky

 

52 Join the Discussion

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    • Hi, Annamarie! What are your favorite healthy snacks? Fresh fruit and veggies are always a favorite here in Wonderopolis!

    • Good for you on the fruits and veggies, Lily M/C! It’s ok to eat chips and other not-so-healthy treats every once in a while, just not all the time! Have a WONDERful day today! :-)

  1. My favorite fruit is bananas like totaly YYYYYYYYYYUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMM…………………i luv bananas

    • Popcorn can be a super healthy snack (as long as it’s not covered in tons of butter and salt)! Way to go, :D!

  2. I loved the incredible wonder! Would waffles be considered a healthy snack? I’m guessing waffles wouldn’t be a very healthy snack. Keep up with the superb wonders!

    • That is a GREAT question, Jack! We’re sure some waffles are much more healthy than others. There are ways to make waffles better for you, like using whole wheat flour in the batter, or using peanut butter or fresh fruit as a topping instead of lots of butter and syrup. There are always ways to make your favorite snacks healthier! Thanks so much for commenting today! :-)

  3. Man, I love this site.

    I say the best after school snack would be a plum. Hands down. A sweet, sour, tasty, juicy plum. The purple insides is really what tastes good. I even put a little bit of sugar on the inside after I bite it, that way it’s more than just amazing…it’s FLAWLESS.

    HAVE A GREAT DAY!

    • Hi, Maurice! WOW! You sure do like plums! We like them, too, and think they make a GREAT snack! Fruit tastes good and is good for you! You made a nice choice by picking plums as your favorite after-school snack! :-)

    • You’re lucky to have a mom who makes such yummy after-school snacks for you, Ruthie! Fruit salad is one of our FAVORITE treats, because we get to sample many different fruits in one dish! Thank you for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

  4. I really like to eat fruit and veggies.
    I almost eat them every day.
    My family always has fruit and veggies, so if you want a snack, that is what you have.

    • Fruits and veggies make for YUMMY after-school snacks, Mrissa! We think we might go have a snack right now…maybe a crunchy apple or some carrot sticks! Thanks for your comment today! :-)

  5. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We’re still wondering if strawberries covered with one layer of whipped cream is a good after-school snack?

    Thanks for helping us wonder!

    • Hello, Mrs. Armfelt’s Third Grade Class! We’re so glad you left us a comment today to share the extra WONDERING you did about this Wonder of the Day®! We think strawberries with a little bit of whipped cream might be an OK after-school snack every so often, but plain, fresh strawberries and other fruits (and/or vegetables) would be a much healthier choice, wouldn’t you agree? :-)

    • Thanks for sharing Wonderopolis with other classes at Bailey Elementary, Mrs. Caplin! We LOVE meeting new Wonder Friends, and when they’re also friends of yours, that makes them extra AWESOME! :-)

  6. I really like to have a selection of food for me to pick from, because every day I want something new and not the same thing every single day after school.

    • They say “variety is the spice of life,” Zoey, and it sounds like that’s the case with your after-school snack preferences! It’s AWESOME to vary your diet and try different things! Way to go! :-)

  7. So true! Eating healthy gives you even more energy than a bag of chips and helps you have a better performance at after-school activities or sports practices. If you are not a fan of veggies, why not use some dip you like or in the case of broccoli cook it up with a little bit of cheese to hide the flavor. I like having a healthy diet because then you do not have to feel so bad when you want to have a sweet or two every once in a while! Also they can taste great! Some fruits are so sweet that they may taste even better than a different sweet food that is unhealthy! So why not eat healthy if it can be as delicious as unhealthy foods and it is better for YOU?!!

    • We love your enthusiasm for living a healthy lifestyle, Gracie! Your suggestions for healthy eating are quite tasteful– we can’t wait to hop into the kitchen to cook up some veggies ourselves! Way to go– you are a healthy food CHAMPION! :)

    • Hi there, Eric T Allen! Thanks for sharing your favorite after-school snack! We Wonder what kind of fruit you like in your smoothie? :)

  8. Hello Wonderopolis!
    We are participating in the Healthy Challenge this week. We are trying to eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies and no sugary drinks for seven days. Do you have any tips to help us? What is your favorite healthy snack?
    Thanks! :)
    Mrs. Higgins’ Class

    • WOOHOO, the Healthy Challenge sounds awesome! Thank you for telling us all about it, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Higgins’ Class! We believe in you and we are happy to hear about the challenge you’re taking on! Fruits and veggies are delicious, and we love how good they are for us, too! Some of our favorite snacks include:

      -An apple with a spoonful of peanut butter
      -A cup of yogurt with some berries (or dried fruit) on top
      -A green apple with a slice of cheddar cheese
      -Celery sticks, mini carrots and slices of green peppers dipped in hummus

      YUM! We’re getting hungry just thinking about those healthy treats! Make sure you’re drinking lots of water and you’re staying active– a healthy lifestyle means exercising and eating right! We can’t wait to hear how everyone does with this challenge! :)

    • Hey there, Veronica! We’re so excited that you’ve shared yours and Crystal’s favorite healthy snacks with us! Those sound like delicious treats indeed! Have a SUPER day! :)

    • Hi Cassie! We are glad you shared your awesome idea for an after-school snack! What a super way to keep you tummy happy before dinner! :)

  9. I LOVE FRUIT AND PEANUT BUTTER. SOMETIMES I MAKE A GRILLED BANANA AND PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH, YOU MAKE IT THE SAME WAY YOU WOULD MAKE GRILLED CHEESE.

    • YUM, that sounds like a deliciously sweet treat! We are going to try that ourselves, Wonder Friend Love! Thank you for sharing your awesome comment! :)

    • Those are SUPER snacks, Shelia! We love to add peanut butter to our afternoon snacks– what a great and sweet treat! Thank you for sharing your tasty comment! :)

  10. Healthy snacks are very important fpr children. As the grandmother of 3 students here I can say that I am very happy to see programs that focus on Food and health education.

    • Stephanie, how true! Healthy snacks and eating habits are so important for people of all ages! We’re glad to hear that you are helping your grandchildren to form great habits and why healthy food is WONDERful! :)

  11. We have started to try different ways to eat veggies and fruits in our home. My oldest daughter Stephanie learned how to make a quick easy healthy snack in the Little Chefs program here at school. All you need is tortillas, bananas and peanut butter/applebutter or nutrella. You use them to make a yummy “quesadilla”. :)

    • What a great idea– we’re so glad you’ve shared your awesome snack, Misty! It sounds like the Little Chefs program is inspiring everyone to eat healthy and have fun! That sure sounds WONDERful to us! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is the best after-school snack?
  • What types of foods make nutritious snacks?
  • What kinds of foods should you avoid at snack time?

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Try It Out

If today’s Wonder of the Day has made you hungry, do something about it! Put what you’ve learned into action and make yourself a healthy snack.

Try your hand at one of the easy-to-make, nutritious recipes below:

We’re sure our Wonder Friends have a lot of great ideas for other nutritious snacks. Post a comment below with your favorite healthy treat. You can also email or send us a great snack recipe if you have one!

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Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ Nutrition 2: Good Food, Good Health lesson to explore the ways in which food provides energy and nutrients for your body!

 

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