14 after school snacks your kids will love

Photo credit: Crafting Chicks/Living Well Mom

From the way kids dash into the house after school, seemingly famished and near death, you’d think they hadn’t eaten for days. Hard work — of both the mind and body — will do that to a kid. So, in the effort to provide unique, healthy and delicious options for them, here are 14 after school snacks your kids will love.

1. Strawberry banana frozen yogurt pops

When the kids open the freezer in search of ice cream, your first impulse might be to tell them to find something healthy to eat. But when these strawberry banana frozen yogurt pops are waiting for them in the freezer, you both win. The recipe, courtesy of Six Sisters Stuff, just so happens to be both healthy and delicious.

Made with fresh fruit and vanilla yogurt, these provide the vitamins, nutrients and protein your kids need to refuel and recharge. Bananas and strawberries are a dynamic duo, but don’t limit yourself: Blueberries, raspberries, peaches and apricots all work well. Your kids can help choose and prepare fruit. Let them come up with their own favorite combos!

Yogurt is a healthy snack, providing protein, calcium, potassium and healthy-tummy probiotics. Do read labels, though: Some varieties pack lots of sugar and artificial flavoring. Generally, Greek yogurt tends to have less sugar and more protein than the regular type. Vanilla yogurt complements any fruit, but nothing says you can’t go a little crazy and experiment with other flavor combos.

Photo credit: Six Sisters’ Stuff

2. Cinnamon apple chips

How many times have you told your child to just grab an apple when she’s hungry? That’s solid advice. Apples are high in fiber and antioxidants, and they help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. No, your little scholars won’t be too impressed by this yet, but it’s a feel-good for parents.

Plain apples are a perfectly good snack, but these cinnamon apple chips we discovered at Carries Experimental Kitchen put some excitement back into apples while still retaining all of the health benefits. This is a snack you can serve without worry about the kids overindulging.

Start with a trip to the farmer’s market, grocery store or, if you’re lucky, a nearby apple orchard. Convince your snack consumers to join you — part of the fun of eating lies in the finding and prep! Experiment with a few different apple varieties to determine which are their favorites.

When it comes to prep, these are one of the easiest snacks you can imagine. Core and slice the apples, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and then cook. In addition to yummy flavor, cinnamon provides even more health benefits in the form of antioxidants. The amount of sugar sprinkled on these cinnamon apple chips is quite small; you can even eliminate it altogether.

You and your kids will be eager to try these, but let them know that the apples require a few hours of baking time at low heat to dehydrate. We promise they’re worth the wait, though! Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days (as if the kids won’t gobble them up by then).

Photo credit: Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

3. Backyard bug snacks

If there were an award for ‘Most Adorable After School Snack’, these would win, hands down. They are almost too cute to eat. Almost. These backyard bug snacks, so artistically created by The Crafting Chicks will become the only bugs your kids will eat. (One can hope.)

Just looking at them will make you smile. When you discover how easy they are to make and all the nutritional value they provide, that smile will just keep growing. What a great way to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables without a single complaint!

The “butterflies” provide vitamins, nutrients, protein and carb-fueled energy in the form of celery, peanut butter and pretzels. The mercifully hairless “caterpillars” are a fun way to make sure your kids get some fiber and potassium, too. And the lovely “ladybugs” offer the crunch of a cracker, the protein and calcium of cheese, and the bounty of vitamins and minerals in tomatoes. You and your kids will have as much fun making them as you will when eating them.

Serve up a platter of these not-so-creepy-crawlies as an after school snack. They’ll make you the coolest mom (or dad) on the block when your kids have their friends over. And they’re ideal for birthday parties, potlucks, sleepovers or snack-duty days at school.

Photo credit: Crafting Chicks

4. Pizza rollups

Is there ever a bad time for pizza? (Hint: The answer is “no.”) How excited will your kids be when they walk in the door, dragging their feet, and smell the delicious aroma of pizza? (The answer is “very.”) These pizza rollups created by Beth Moncel of Budget Bytes will perk up weary scholars and help them make it through their homework.

The simple ingredients make the prep a cinch. Tortillas, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese sticks are all you need to have a warm, tasty after school treat ready in a snap.

The key to keeping the tortillas soft, foldable and in one piece as you work with them is warming them up in the microwave for a few seconds. Just wrap up a few pieces of pepperoni and half a mozzarella cheese stick inside like a burrito, and these babies are ready to bake. After 12 to 15 minutes, they’ll be browned and ready to eat. A side of dipping sauce completes the pizza flavor profile.

Vary the fillings according to preference: salami, chopped veggies, olives, etc. Just don’t overstuff; you want them to stay tightly rolled up. They’ll be such a hit as an after school snack that the kids will ask for them on game days and for friend gatherings. Bonus: They’re healthier than frozen pizza.

Photo credit: Budget Bytes

5. Chunky monkey bites

Anytime you combine chocolate and peanut butter, we’re all in, no questions asked. So, when we discovered these chunky monkey bites on Living Well Mom, we had to try them. Trust us: These will soon join your regular rotation of after school snacks. They’re essentially bite-sized versions of frozen bananas on a stick — but with peanut butter. Heaven!

Your kids will think they’re getting a special sweet treat, and they are. Only you’ll know they’re full of healthy goodness. Bananas offer magnesium, potassium and fiber, while peanut butter provides protein. Stick to all-natural peanut butter to avoid unnecessary ingredients. If you use dark chocolate, your kids will also get loads of antioxidants.

If you want to have these ready when your scholars walk in the door, you’ll have to start at least an hour before they arrive home; the bananas and peanut butter need to sit in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour so they stay together as you dunk them in the chocolate. Alternatively, your kids would have a blast helping build these stacks of yummy goodness and savoring them afterward.

These snacks will be a welcome after school treat any day. They’ll be an even bigger hit on a warm summer’s afternoon with friends and family. There’s really no wrong time to make these.

Photo credit: Living Well Mom

Want more? Check out these other after school snacks!

6. Homemade granola bars

7. Cheesy pretzel twists

8. White cheddar vegan goldfish crackers

9. Strawberry cheesecake Ritzwich

10. Homemade pretzel dogs

11. S’more snack mix

12. Banana split bites

13. Cucumber bites

14. Pantry popcorn mix