As my kids have gotten older, I’ve found that after-school snacks are more than just a treat. They’re essential for helping my boys make it through the rest of the day, especially when they come home tired and hungry. (So, especially on most days.) In fact, I now look at after-school snacks as a fourth “meal” that I schedule and plan for.
I have two after-school snack musts: It has to be nutritious to some degree, and even if it’s a sweet treat, it shouldn’t be too high in sugar, because no thank you to a sugar crash during after-school activities and homework. In other words, I stay away from cupcakes, candy bars, or a handful of cookies. (At least on most days.)
Which is why I’m personally thrilled to be working with our latest sponsor, Stonyfield, who recently announced that they are reducing sugar across their entire organic YoKids yogurts line.
YoKids yogurts are already one of our favorite after-school snacks and now I can feel even better about serving them at 3PM.
But, I know, I know… kids can’t snack on yogurt alone. So I’ve rounded up five go-to snacks that I love keeping on hand for after-school snacking (and healthier desserts) that go easy on the added sugar.
Chocolate Dipped Clementines with Sea Salt | Comfort of Cooking
1. Chocolate-Dipped Fruit
If you’ve got kids who don’t love some fruits in all their naked glory, you can sweeten the deal (so to speak) with a dip of chocolate.
I love these chocolate dipped fruit ideas that go beyond strawberries. They’re among my favorite sweet treats that also serve up a whole lot of vitamins and minerals. It’s an awesomely versatile idea too: You can dip anything from clementines to watermelon. Click and I think you’ll find something new and fun for after-school snacking.
I opt for dark chocolate, which has far less sugar than milk chocolate and offers some health benefits too. After school, I also offer up a low-sugar carb like whole wheat pretzels or pita chips to go with this tasty fruit treat.
Photo by Naomi McColloch for Make It Easy cookbook by Stacie Billis
2. Fruit with Citrus Sugar
As an alternative to chocolate-dipped fruit, another option is citrus sugar. Haven’t tried this yet? It’s soooo easy, requires very little sugar, and the results are magical!
Just combine a basic ratio of 1/2 cup sugar to 1 teaspoon citrus zest from lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruit. Done! It will keep for a week or two in the fridge and cover you for plenty of days of snacking; or halve the recipe for a smaller yield.
Some of my favorite combinations:
-watermelon and lime sugar
-blueberries and lemon sugar
-pineapple with orange sugar
-blackberries with grapefruit sugar
-mango with lime sugar
Your kids won’t even think to ask for cookies after trying some of these, and each kid gets just a sprinkling of sugar at snack time, instead of tablespoons. Yum!
3. Fruit Yogurt with Reduced Sugar
We’ve been enjoying Stonyfield YoKids as a treat since my boys were little, but now that Stonyfield is cutting down on the sugar, I feel like I can say yes more often.
YoKids cups are the perfect size for little kids, though my growing boys pair them with pretzels and a piece of fruit. The Blueberry flavor is a particularly big hit around my house.
Tip: When the weather is warm, I love to freeze YoKids squeezers for an icy treat with way less sugar than ice cream. Frozen squeezers also work great packed in a school lunch since they thaw just in time to eat.
If we’re racing out the door or eating on the go (hi, I’m the mom who’s always running late to after school practice),
YoKids pouches are a lifesaver.
More about our sponsor
Stonyfield YoKids yogurts now contain 25% to 40% less sugar than other kids’ yogurts.
On top of that, they’re organic and made without artificial hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs.
Kid-favorite flavors like Lemonade, Blueberry, and Strawberry Banana are only more appealing now. And the cute seals, tigers, and penguins on the packaging are in honor of Stonyfield’s sponsorship of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ SAFE program, which helps educate kids on endangered species.
Just one more reason they make for a fantastic after-school snack for kids of all ages.
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding | Fit Foodie Finds
4. A Healthy Chia Pudding Recipe
Pudding always feels like a special treat, and of course, given how much sugar is in most pudding recipes. But if you swap a traditional recipe for chia pudding, you’ve got a fantastic and much more healthful after-school treat.
Chia seeds are packed with protein and healthy fats, and need nothing more than some milk (plant-based varieties like almond or coconut milk work best) and a few hours for the combination to transform into a pudding consistency.
For the basic recipe, I like to use coconut milk and a little maple syrup or honey for natural sweetness.
Beyond that, there are endless ways to customize chia pudding using everything from cocoa powder to all-natural flavor extracts. One of my boys’ favorites is the Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding that I discovered while rounding up a collection of healthy chocolate recipes for Cool Mom Eats readers. You can even whip up a big batch on Sunday and pack in mini mason jars for an on-the-go snack.
When I’m really looking for a time-saving shortcut, I just stir some chia seeds into a few cups of Stonyfield YoKids — my kids like me to use Strawberry Vanilla — and nothing else. After a few hours, voila! We’ve got a delicious Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Chia Pudding.
Photo by Naomi McColloch for Make It Easy cookbook by Stacie Billis
5. Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix is a fantastic snack because it can so easily provide the ultimate trifecta: protein, carbs, and flavor. Unfortunately though, the store-bought varieties have way more sugar than I’d like — including actual chocolate candies, which are totally not necessary.
Instead, I find it’s so simple to make my own easy DIY trail mix.
My ideal trail mix ratio:
-50 percent nuts and/or seeds
-30 percent dried fruit or freeze dried fruit (freeze-dried fruit has much less sugar so a combination of the two is nice)
-20 percent miscellaneous ingredients, like sesame sticks, pretzel sticks, just a few sweet chips (like mini chocolate chips or butterscotch), cereal, dried chickpeas, and so on.
Sometimes I make a big batch on the weekend — you can check out our four favorite trail mix combinations here — and other times, I let my boys make their own using a buffet of trail mix ingredients that I keep in my pantry. (You know, with a little oversight so that they don’t end up scarfing down a ton of chocolate chips mixed with a small handful of peanuts.)
Either way, I find a big baggie full of trail mix plus either a cheese stick or Stonyfield YoKids for a little more protein keeps my kids running on good stuff — not just sugar — until dinner time.
Thanks to our sponsor Stonyfield for helping make tasty snacking (and desserting!) possible by lowering the sugar in their YoKids line. To find out more, find Stonyfield on Facebook and Instagram.