After-school snacks for kids

Avoid the after-school slump with these nourishing snacks for kids – these simple recipes will help to restore energy levels between meals.

Rainbow fruit skewers on blue chopping board

When the kids get home from school, it can be tricky to find healthy snacks that will keep them satisfied until dinner time. These budget-friendly ideas are all quick and easy to prepare – either make a batch of snacks ahead of time and keep them ready for hungry moments, or assemble them quick as a flash after school. Don’t worry – the little ones will soon have plenty of energy again.

If you’re buying pre-packaged snacks, the NHS advice is to look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max. Kids can of course eat their fill of fruit and vegetables between meals, and for homemade recipes it’s not necessary to count calories – just keep an eye on your child’s overall salt, sugar and fat intake and try to balance their diet throughout the day. Here, we've picked recipes that can be enjoyed as part of a normal, balanced diet.

1. Turkey & avocado toast

Turkey and avocado on toast
Fresh fruit and vegetables are often the best option for kids after school, but sometimes they need something more substantial. Turkey and avocado toast makes a delicious energy-boosting snack that’s quick to prepare. Although not as cheap to buy, you might like to try smoked salmon, cooked chicken or ham as alternative toppings.

2. Pepper & walnut hummus with veggie dippers

Pepper and walnut hummus with vegetable sticks
Vegetable sticks to the rescue! Satisfyingly crunchy and boasting a tasty homemade dip, little ones will love this pepper & walnut hummus with veggie dippers. You can blitz this all-in-one method for hummus ahead of time, so there’s always some waiting in the fridge when they get home.

3. Rainbow fruit skewers

Rainbow fruit skewers on a blue chopping board
Get the kids involved with making these simple rainbow fruit skewers – they’ll have great fun assembling them in the right colour order. Use whatever fruit you have handy, and if they get bored of rainbows you can get creative and make fruit faces or animals instead!

4. Almond, raisin & popcorn trail mix

Almond, raisin and popcorn trail mix in a blue bowl
Make a batch of almond, raisin & popcorn trail mix ahead of time for another go-to snack – it keeps beautifully in an airtight container as part of a kids’ lunchbox, too. Remember to always chop the nuts for children under 5 years old, as they can be a choking hazard, and if you're sending this snack to school you may need to check the school's policy on nuts.

5. Apple crunch

Peanut butter on apple
Simple but effective, spreading protein-rich peanut butter onto a halved apple is a cheap and easy snack that kids will love. If you can, choose a shop-bought spread with no added salt or sugar – alternatively, have a bash at whizzing up your own homemade peanut butter or try our almond butter recipe. You can easily swap the apple for sliced banana, strawberries, some celery or cucumber depending on your child’s preference.

6. Healthier flapjacks

Healthier flapjacks on a wooden board
When only a sweet snack will do, these healthier flapjacks are sure to hit the spot. We’ve swapped out some of the higher fat you’ll find in shop-bought versions, although the dried fruit makes them high in sugar so enjoy them as a treat once in a while. Half a portion – packed full of oats, seeds and fruit – should be enough to fill little tummies.

7. Turkey & pepper pittas

Turkey and pepper pittas
Bridge the gap between school and supper with a mini pitta bread packed with veggies and protein. These turkey & pepper pittas are a good place to start, or our recipe for toaster pitta pockets will satisfy cheese fiends of all ages.

8. Cheese wheatmeal biscuits

Cheese wheatmeal biscuits
Deliciously savoury, you can fill a tin with these cheese wheatmeal biscuits on Monday and they’ll all be gone by the end of the week! For younger kids, using different shaped cutters can help to keep these interesting – you can add a spread from the cupboard, or enjoy them on their own.

9. Wrap-your-own spring rolls

Wrap your own spring rolls on a plate
If you have a bit more time at the weekend, get the little ones involved and wrap-your-own spring rolls – you can reheat these treats later in the week as you need them. Mix and match the vegetables inside so that kids can eat the ones they like the most.

10. Fruitburst muffins

Fruitburst muffins on a cooling wire rack
These fruitburst muffins are packed with berries and use ingredients that are lower in fat overall – perfect for an after-school snack or a lunchbox treat. Once baked, you can freeze them for up to one month or keep in an airtight tin for two days.

Looking for more? Try these these guides on healthy eating for kids:

Healthy eating: what schoolchildren need
Top sugar swaps for your family
Snacks that are under 100 calories
Top 5 healthy snacks for kids

What do your kids like to eat after school? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below…

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