Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

After-School Snacking: Be Safe, Be Healthy

School is out for the day and the kids are hungry! Keep them reaching for healthy options while keeping them safe.

precut veggies

Photo: Serdar Kilic (flickr)

Pre-cut veggies are one quick option to keep in the fridge when the after-school hunger strikes.

Giving kids healthy food and fighting childhood obesity happens during and beyond the school day. After school, children are likely to be hungry before dinner and reaching for snacks.

After-School Snacks

Some recommendations include cut and washed vegetables and fruit in the fridge, or substitute rice cakes for potato chips. For children who aren’t allergic, “ants on a log” is a filling snack, with peanut butter smoothed inside stalks of celery and topped with raisins.

Earth Eats contributor Nicole Henderson listed ways to integrate healthy snacking into the household, including eliminating sugar-packed juices and encouraging whole fruits instead. Her top ten snacks include other treats like hummus and whole-grain cereal (instead of the sugary kind).

Home Alone? Snack Safe!

USDA Food Safety’s Diane Van outlined safe ways for children who are home alone to get their after-school fix. Washing hands before eating (and after playing with any pets) is the most important, but so is using clean utensils and washing fruits and vegetables.

Don’t eat any foods containing raw or uncooked eggs, like raw cookie dough, or undercooked meat to avoid contaminated products. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot to avoid growth of harmful bacteria.

Microwave safety is important too — if the microwave is above your child’s head, caution them not to use it. Foods could potentially spill and burn the child. The extra time listed on microwave foods after the cooking time is there for a reason — microwave foods continue to cook for a minute or so after heating.

Have any after-school treats or tips to keep your child safe? Share below!

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Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Bloomington, Indiana. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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