Avoid sugary processed snacks in the post-school or nursery hunger gap. Instead, opt for these nutritious ideas for feeding little ones’ appetites.

Whose children don’t emerge from school – whether of the big or the pre variety – with appetites that would suggest having recently run a marathon (which, all things considered, they might actually have done in squeal-fuelled laps around the playground)? Navigating the great yawning chasm between the three o’clock pick-up time and suppertime can, then, be testing of our resolve not to buckle under demands to fill it with things that we’d really rather our children didn’t eat on the regular.

Preparation is, we have learned glacially slowly but very surely, everything. We love these seven simple and nutritious snacks for children that sate small – or rather, disproportionately large – appetites. And for those who have the opposite problem – namely picky eaters – why not place some these on the table and, without pressure or coercion, wait for them to become curious? If they don’t, you can feel justified in hoovering up these delicious treats yourself. A few of these ideas for healthy kids snacks also double as great bites to pack into children’s lunch boxes, too – all minus shop-bought plastic wrapping.

Main image: Taste

Peanut Butter And Berry Frozen Bananas


Taste


Fun presentation allied with fuss-free prep is, we find, key to the after-school snack. This one requires a modicum of forethought, in that you have to have halved and frozen the bananas on a baking tray for thirty minutes or so. Other than that, they take five minutes to knock up. Nut butter – ideally those of the less sugary variety – will fill children up, while the berries contain plenty of vitamin C. Moreover, they look pretty inviting. A clear five-a-day packing-in winner. Get the recipe here.

Apple Donuts


Delish


Rare is the child who doesn’t go nuts for a doughnut. Happily, the joy of biting into a sprinkle-topped ring doesn’t have to come with the attendant sugar rush or laden with saturated fat. These may not purport to taste *exactly* the same as actual doughnuts – but they are just as fun. You need apples, melted chocolate, sprinkles, cream cheese and some honey. They’re a fun one to make together, too. Get the recipe here.

My Favourite Guacamole


Lizzie Loves


Dips never go amiss as a means of filling a gap. They’re tactile, they’re tasty – and they can be super healthy, too. We love this classic guacamole recipe (though we must caveat that this isn’t one written specifically for children; if you’re making it for little ones, it’s probably advisable to ditch the optional chilli). The health benefits of avocados have, in recent years, been eulogised to the skies by nutritionists everywhere; they – along with nuts – are the ultimate source of good fats which, in turn, also keep hunger at bay. If you’re not keen to serve with tortillas, this works well with cucumber batons, too. Get the recipe here.

Tomatoes On Toast


Little Cooks Co


Tomatoes on toast – aka a classic bruschetta recipe – is a great, tasty way to fill a hole between coming home from school and supper. The garlic and sourdough are great for gut health; good tomatoes are packed with vitamins as well as being redolent of summer (if you’ve grown your own, then you win extra points as long as you’re sure to dial down the smug); and olive is one of life’s healthy fats. No sugar in sight; just a good, nutritious snack that children will adore. For parents hoping to foster a love of the much-vaunted Mediterranean diet, this is a great, easy, quick, healthy and simple place to start. Get the recipe here.

Pitta Pockets


BBC Good Food


For those days when your children go straight to football, ballet – or simply for another round of chasing one another about a local park – these more substantial snacks fit the bill perfectly for the consequent ravenous hunger. Pack them into a Tupperware or tiffin box if they can’t wait until they get home. They require no cooking – and they offer a great vehicle for packing in greenery that might, otherwise, be spurned. If you’re going full domestic god or goddess, make your own hummus. Otherwise, shop-bought will do just fine. Get the recipe here.

Frozen Yoghurt Raspberries


Super Healthy Kids


Fruit is always a great option for feeding hungry mouths as they emerge from school. Yet the words, ‘why don’t you have an apple?’ are routinely met by groans of grave disappointment, at least from older children (the uncorrupted younger ones remain more readily convinced – for now). These frozen yoghurt raspberries give the delicious jewel-like fruits an exciting and filling makeover. As the recipe suggests, Greek yoghurt, sweetened with a little honey, does the trick beautifully. It’s very simple, but you’ll need to pipe it in; it makes a fun activity for slightly older children, too. Get the recipe here.

Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Bars


Super Healthy Kids


As the writers of this recipe tell us, the supermarket aisles are stuffed full of bars aimed at children. Alas many – and indeed most – of them, even those that purport to be healthy, are packed with processed ingredients and sugar. This recipe contains only three things, all of them natural whole foods: peanut butter, oats and bananas. As such, they’re extremely simple to make too. The perfect, hassle-free health snack for children’s lunch boxes or after school. Make a tray and eke it out over the ensuing few days.

By Nancy Alsop
April 2021

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Nancy Alsop

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