Back to School Snacks: Easy Recipes for Homemade Snacks
Kick after school hunger to the curb with these ideas for homemade snacks! From smoothies, to homemade baked treats, healthier dips, popsicles, and more there are tons of after school snack ideas and easy snack recipes to serve.
It’s back to school time and that means lots of preparation for us moms. I already shared some tips for easy back to school breakfast ideas, but I thought I’d share some quick and easy recipes for homemade back to school snacks.
I remember as a child, the first thing out of my mouth upon arriving home from school was usually “I’m hungry!” And it’s no surprise that I’m hearing our kids say the exact same thing.
I try my best to make sure they eat a decent breakfast before school and I always provide food so they can pack a balanced lunch, but a day at school is full of hard work: mentally in the classroom and physically during their after school sports practices.
TIPS FOR AFTER SCHOOL SNACKS
I like to focus on fruits and vegetables for after school snacks. It gives my kids a little something to sustain them until dinner, but not enough to fill them up and spoil their appetites.
The key is finding a healthy after school snack that won’t spoil dinner (try to stay away from prepackaged items or anything with a lot of sugar) and teaching kids about portion control.
An after school snack doesn’t need to be a meal, just a little something to tide one over until dinner.
don’t eat too close to dinner!
alternate snacks that feel more like treats (muffins) with fruits fruits, vegetables, or nuts to create balance.
don’t allow an open pantry policy – it usually goes better if we have a plan for what snacks are rather than endless grazing.
Check out these ideas for getting your kids to enjoy some yummy fruit and vegetable snacks after school without spoiling their dinner:
It's important to have the house stocked with the ingredients you'll need for homemade back to school snacks. Snacks will give kids the energy they need to complete homework and other after school tasks (plus nourished bodies always seems to lead to a more positive attitude in our house!).
Smoothies for Snacks
Smoothies are great back to school snacks because you can easily vary the ingredients based upon what you have on hand and what's in season. They're super quick to whip up, but even more so when you take advantage of this make ahead option.
I love to make freezer smoothies for the kids and stores them in these Ball Plastic 8-Ounce Freezer Jars. I purchased some of these freezer-friendly plastic jars a few years back. I often make an extra large batch smoothie for breakfast for the kids and freeze the extra in these jars to keep on hand for later dates.
BONUS: These freezer smoothies are also great lunchbox additions. They serve as a great fruit source and help keep the rest of the lunch box items cold. Serve with a spoon.
This Chocolate Almond Banana Smoothie is a delicious and healthy afternoon pick me up. Chocolate, almond, and banana pair awesomely together! There is plenty of natural sweetness thanks to almond butter and bananas, so this recipe uses cocoa powder for the chocolate, but you can garnish it with mini chocolate chips or fun.
The rich texture (from the frozen bananas), the brightness from the fresh mint, the freshness from cucumber, all balanced against the tartness of frozen raspberries. Delish! And to make this smoothie even more healthy, I added a few scoops of vanilla protein powder, sweetened it just a bit more with stevia and added chia seeds for some extra umph.
This Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie is the perfect way to celebrate fall with your kids! It is easy to prepare, super healthy and full of all your favorite fall spices. What isn’t to love about a smoothie recipe that tastes like pumpkin pie?
Fresh Fruit For Snacks
Fresh fruits are an easy after school snack because it requires very little preparation. I like to keep a variety of in-season fruit choices on hand. My kids also enjoy dried fruits, 100% real fruit store bought fruit leathers and freeze dried fruit.
Fresh fruits on a stick make after school snacks super fun. These ideas are simple enough for kids to help out with and can easily be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator (or freezer for the frozen grapes).
Can you freeze grape might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about grapes. But, the good news is that you can! Frozen grapes make a great addition to smoothies as well as a healthy, cold snack during summer.
Pomegranate Salsa is the perfect salsa recipe to make if you are craving fresh salsa in the winter.
Veggies and Dip for Snacks
I like to prepare cut vegetables in advance on less busy days and store them in a ziploc bag or resealable container in the refrigerator. When you're ready for a snack the vegetables are already prepared and easy to pull out of the refrigerator and set out on the kitchen table.
Most kids love to dip. Dips are a great opportunity to get more fruits and/or vegetables into your kids. Set out a plate of cut, fresh vegetables after school along with a bowl of dip. Kids can snack while mom cooks dinner. Additionally, you can offer whole grain pita chips to scoop these dips.
Chickpeas are filling and packed with protein and fiber which makes hummus a great addition to many no-cook summer meals and snacks. I love recipes like Roasted Red Pepper Hummus because they’re so versatile. Hummus can be served so many ways. From a simple appetizer or starter to a meal with cut vegetables to part of a larger meal.
This 5 Minute Basic Guacamole features the delicious flavors of red onion, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, and fresh lime juice paired with ripe, mashed avocados. Its simple and basic, but oh so delicious!
I love this cucumber-y yogurt dip and I can’t believe I went so many years before ever eating it or trying it (I had never had it until I visited Greece)! Tzatziki is great as an appetizer with toasted pita wedges and vegetables for dipping.
Healthier Baked Treats for Snacks
Some afternoons just call for a little something sweet to eat. In my opinion, it's okay to offer treats for an after school snack once in a while as long as it doesn't become an expectation to have special snacks every day.
I don't think there's anything that can really replace the traditional after school milk and cookie memories of my childhood, but we tend to eat dinner on the earlier side since the kids are still going to bed early so I don't like to offer something that will put a huge damper on the dinner appetite.
TIP: Make muffins and quick breads ahead of time. They can be easily frozen and used as needed. Just thaw or reheat what you plan to use that day.
Banana bread is one of those things where everyone is convinced that their recipe is the absolute best. I won’t claim that this is the best, but it is most definitely one of the best in our house. This hearty banana bread features whole wheat flour, barley flour, and oat flour for some extra grains and nutrients.
These Zucchini Apple Spice Muffins are perfect for the transition space between summer and fall. You can use up the loads of summer zucchini that are laying around in your garden, the grocery store, or at the farmer’s marker, while savoring the fall spice flavors and a hint of apple.
One of the very best ways to enjoy this strawberries this spring is in the form of these Whole Grain Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins. When baked into a muffin, the strawberries become jammy, and gooey, and perfectly delicious!
Granola and Energy Bites for Snacks
Granola Bars and Homemade Energy Ball Bits pack a big punch when it comes to homemade snacks! I love how you can often customize recipes to your liking by substituting different dried fruits and different nuts! These all store well in the refrigerator for about a week, or in the freezer for longer storage time lengths!
These soft and chewy Molasses and Ginger Granola Bars really hit the spot when you're in the need of a little bit of a sweet fix! Plus, check out the DIY granola bar formula to come up with your own recipe combinations!
Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Energy Balls will help you satisfy your chocolate cravings with a mix of protein, healthy fats, and naturally dates and coconut. Pop these bite sized treats in your mouth for a quick snack and energy fix.
I can't resist and salty, crunchy snack! They're often one of my personal favorites, but our kids love these recipes, too. Nuts offer lots of protein, kale chips are crunchy like chips but healthier (who knew that you could make kale taste like chips?!), and chickpeas roast up into a nice crunchy snack, too. If you can't get past that chips and salsa craving, try making your own tortilla chips!
Chips and salsa are a snacking weakness of mine! This recipe for Baked Tortilla Chips is a quick recipe for easy, homemade baked tortilla chips. These ones are flavored with cumin, chipotle, and lime for extra pizzazz!
This simple Chocolate Dipped Nuts recipe satisfies on so many levels. When you use high quality dark chocolate, at least 60% cacao, this recipe for Chocolate Dipped Nuts is a healthy and delicious way to survive sweet cravings. Just a small handful will leave anyone satisfied!
Popcorn trail mix is a fun way to combine salty popcorn, crunchy nuts and seeds, and sweet, chewy dried fruits. Customize it however you want!
Popsicles for Snacks
I love making popsicles for snacks for the kids because I can make them ahead of time and store them in the freezer! Homemade popsicles are so great because you have complete control over the ingredients (no mysterious ingredients here!) and can customize the flavors however you want. BONUS: the smoothies at the beginning of this post can be frozen in popsicle molds to make smoothie popsicles (these are my favorite popsicle molds!).
These Pomegranate, Raspberry, and Nectarine Popsicles are great during the strange in between space of Summer and Fall - when Summer produce is still readily available, temperatures are high, yet Fall produce is starting to sneak its way in. To enjoy these during the winter, substitute frozen raspberries and frozen nectarines (or peaches) in place of fresh, seasonal produce.