Looking for After School Healthy Snacks? Here are ideas for if you eat dinner early or late, before practice snacks, car snacks, non-perishable snacks and more.
*Originally posted August 2021. Updated August 2023*
A couple of years ago I rounded up some of my favorite recipes for after school snacks in this post- 10 Healthy After School Snacks For Kids. It covers everything from English muffin mini pizzas to energy balls to oatmeal. Since I know that at home, homemade snacks are not realistic for every family every day, I wanted to give you guys a few more good after-school snacks (both homemade and storebought) for specific after-school scenarios. You could also easily add these snacks to lunch boxes. For more lunch box help, check out my guide: A Month of Easy Packed Lunches For Kids.
If you’re looking for store-bought snack ideas, here are some posts that may help:
- Healthy Amazon Snacks
- Best Trader Joe’s Snacks
- Best Healthy Walmart Snacks
Healthy Snacks At Costco For The Whole Family
Easy After School Snacks
Healthy Snacks for After School
If you eat dinner later or have a couple of hours between the kids getting home/leaving school and dinner time they may need a fairly substantial snack, especially if they ate lunch early:
- Microwave Egg Sandwich (or Turkey Cheese Avocado, PBJ etc)
- Overnight oats or warm oatmeal
- English Muffin Mini Pizza + fruit
- Waffle + peanut butter
- Homemade energy balls or Made in Nature Figgypops
- Sweet Potato White Bean Bar + lifeway kefir
- Amy’s frozen burrito
- Simple Mills crackers + turkey + cheese
- Clif Nut Butter Bar or Larabar or KIND bar
- Beanitos chips + Guacamole
- Kodiak Cake pancakes + yogurt
- Barbara’s Puffins or Love Grown cereal + milk
Easy After School Healthy Snacks To Make
If you eat dinner fairly early and just want something to tide your kids over until then without ruining their dinner. Added bonus- these are simple after school snacks kids can make themselves with minimal help from you!
- Veggies with hummus or ranch + pita
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- A hard-boiled egg and some raisins
- A small bowl of Cheerios with milk
- A handful of trail mix
- Lentil Banana Muffin (or another nutrient-dense muffin/bar)
- Freeze-dried veggies like Rhythm Superfood carrot sticks with string cheese
Healthy Pre-Workout Snacks
Have kids headed to sports practice after school? Here are some ideas:
- Granola bar
- Cereal or muffin
- Half a bagel
- Apple or banana with peanut butter
- A small bowl of oatmeal
- Crackers with turkey
- Trailmix- raisins, cereal + peanuts
- Yogurt + fruit
- Clementine + hard-boiled egg
Healthy After School Snacks To Buy
I have a whole post of after school snacks to buy – 60+ Healthy Packaged Snacks For Kids so check it out for tons of ideas. I also have lists for Healthy Costco Snacks, Best Trader Joe’s Snacks and Healthy Walmart Snacks. But in general, here are a few of my favorite packaged snacks:
- Skinny Pop or Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop
- Cheerios/Barbara’s Puffins/Love Grown Foods cereal
- Lifeway Kefir or Chobani or Siggis lower sugar yogurt – For the kefir, I make a glass with half plain/half flavored to reduce the sugar, for the yogurt I would pair with fruit
- Simple Mills Almond Crackers or RW Garcia Sweet Potato Crackers
- Sabra Hummus or Wholly Guacamole with crackers/veggies
- Larabar or another from this list of Healthy Store-bought Granola Bars For Kids
- Biena Roasted Chickpeas
- Made in Nature Figgy Pops
- Kashi Waffles
- Kodiak Cakes pancakes
Healthy Car Snacks
I wrote about Low Mess Snacks for Kids here. Here are some simple pairings that won’t make too much of a mess in the car. Keep a little trash can or bag in the car for wrappers.
- Yogurt tube + banana
- Cheese stick + That’s It fruit bar
- Chomps Meat Sticks + clementine
- Egg wrap + apple
- Smoothie made with milk/yogurt, fruit, and spinach
- Turkey, cheese, and apple or avocado rolled in a tortilla
- PBJ sandwich
- HB eggs + granola bar
- Cold pizza or quesadilla (less mess than when they’re hot!)
Healthy Non-Perishable Snacks
Ideas for non-perishable snacks if you have to pack them in the morning and need them to still be safe to eat after school:
- Granola or protein bar
- Trail mix
- Healthy Muffin/Bar
- Chomps meat sticks (aff link) + fruit (try fresh fruit, fruit cups, dried fruit or fruit/veggie pouches)
- Dried fruit + Whisps cheese crisps
- Low sugar cereal + Horizon Organic shelf-stable milk boxes
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Roasted chickpeas or roasted edamame (you can add these to trail mix!)
- Squeeze pouches of nut butter + crackers /banana/celery
- My SuperCookies/bars
- Bitsys crackers
- Triscuits/Simple Mills/RW Garcia crackers
- Bare Apple chips
- That’s It Fruit bars
- Fruit & veggie pouches
Healthy After School Snack Ideas for Teens (and kids!)
Have a teenager? Here are some snack ideas:
- Tuna Salad + Crackers
- Scrambled egg + toast
- Turkey Sandwich
- Smoothie with fruit, yogurt or milk and spinach or a smoothie bowl topped with cereal
- Popcorn trail mix
- Deviled eggs
- Chicken quesadilla
- Rotisserie Chicken wrap
- Energy balls
- Yogurt parfait
- Frozen waffles
- Frozen Fish sticks/chicken nuggets/potstickers
- Freezer breakfast sandwiches or burritos
- Avocado toast
- Nachos with guacamole
- Charcuterie snack plate
Want more? My friend Sally wrote a post of 100+ Healthy Snacks for Teens Who Are Always Hungry.
And don’t forget I have a whole list of Peanut & Tree Nut Free Packaged Snacks if you need those!
After School Afternoon Snacks FAQs
Should kids have a snack after school? Why are after school snacks important?
Yes! In most cases, kids should have a snack after school. Especially since my kids have started elementary school, I’ve realized just how early some kids are eating lunch? In our schools, lunch periods start as early as 10:45am and they don’t get home from school until almost 4:00pm.
If your child has an early lunch period, they’ll likely be very hungry when they get home. This can also lead to a tricky situtation depending on when you eat dinner. If you eat on the early side, around 5:00pm, there’s really not that much time before dinner, but it’s likely that your kids will be too hungry to make it even one more hour until dinner time without eating something.
What can you give them that won’t ruin their dinner? Aim for a small snack that has a mix of protein and carbs- half a sandwich, a cheese stick and an apple with peanut butter etc. This is also an excellent time to set out vegetables! Kids are most likely to eat them when they’re truly hungry 🙂
If you eat dinner later, I would aim for a bigger snack – perhaps a whole sandwich, a smoothie or muffin with yogurt.
What is the healthiest after school snack?
You can serve the healthiest snacks possible after school but if your kid refuses to eat it, it’s not really doing anyone any good. Part of being a parent is striking a balance between serving healthy options and serving foods your kids will actually eat so they’re getting the nutritional benefits.
My best advice is to aim for variety. Don’t serve the same after school snack every day. Aim to include vegetables but don’t serve just vegetables all the time. Aim for a balance of protein, healthy carbs and some fat or fiber to keep them happy and satisfied until their next meal.
How big should an after school snack be?
This will vary based on a lot of individual factors – when they ate lunch, how old they are, when dinner is being served, whether or not they have a sports practice or other activity to go to before dinner so it may take some experimenting to find what works for your family.
What are some incredibly easy to make, 5 minutes or less snacks?
Smoothies can be whipped up in just a minute or two in a blender. Grabbing a slice of turkey and cheese and pairing with crackers makes a quick, well-balanced snack. A bowl of cereal with milk can be a great quick option as well.
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