Inside: Need some ideas for healthy grab-and-go after school snacks? In this post we’re sharing healthy snack ideas for kids (all store-bought), perfect for after school pick-up or after school activities!
Today I’m going to share my girls’ all-time favorite grab-and-go snacks.
The school year is a crazy busy time for us (as I’m sure it is for all parents!), so turning to store-bought options is an absolute necessity for me.
Even though I am a stay at home mom, I do not have time to be in the kitchen all day meal-prepping all the things.
On school nights, having a nourishing (but simple) dinner for the kids is a top priority, which means that’s where my “meal prep” focus is right now.
As far as snacks, I don’t always have time to be assembling things so as Ina likes to say, in this season of life, store-bought is fine 😉
P.S. – Hi! I’m Marla, full-time SAHM to 3 little girls. If you’re all about step-by-step help, I teach a course called the Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course that will help you take your stay at home mom life from chaos to control. There’s an entire module dedicated to Feeding Your Family AKA meal planning, family dinners, feeding schedules, and more.
Should kids have after school snacks?
Whether your little one is just starting school for the first time, or you’ve been at it for years, one thing is universal: kids are starving after school. And these healthy grab-and-go after school snacks can be *life-savers*.
It was true when my oldest was 3 and still holds true now that she’s 7. Consider this:
- On a school morning, kids eat breakfast around 6:45/7 AM
- Lunch is anywhere from 10:30-12:30 (earlier for younger kids)
- Kids are picked up between 2:30-3 PM
It’s usually been hours since they’ve eaten and over the years I’ve learned that the afternoon snack given in Kindergarten is not very filling.
By the time they hop in the car in the afternoon, they are starving, especially the first few weeks back to school.
As parents it’s our job to be worried that snacks will ruin their appetites for dinner, but a snack at 3 PM should not affect their dinner at 5:30 PM.
I bring snacks in the car for after school pick-up and a more filling snack for their dance day after school, and then that’s it until dinner time.
What do you give kids after school?
This is the million dollar question, right?
If you scroll through Pinterest you’ll see a lot of fun and interesting ideas for after school snacks; most of which require a little more advanced prep.
While I love some of these ideas, that’s just not my reality right now.
I need quick grab-and-go snacks I can throw into a lunch bag and bring along in the car.
Generally, you’ll want to combine 2-3 snacks to make sort of a “mini meal” that will fill them up and regulate their hunger.
For example: Cheddar Cheese Square, Simple Mills crackers, Applesauce, Larabar
It doesn’t have to be these exact brands, however the example provided is a good outline to follow.
While something like Goldfish or plain crackers also make great store-bought snacks, they won’t do much in the way of satisfying their after school hunger.
Let’s take a look at a list of items you can choose from below.
What are good after school snacks?
- Bars (granola, protein, fruit + nut)
- Energy bites or granola bites
- After school snacks are a great way to regulate hunger (and moods) after school pick-up.
- There’s nothing wrong with relying on store-bought (grab-and-go) items.
- Combine 2-3 things to make a more filling snack.
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Healthy Grab-and-Go After School Snacks
Now let’s take a look at some healthy grab-and-go snacks to buy next time you’re at the store.
Store-bought items can be more pricey than making something yourself, however, your time is money! Some weeks I don’t have time to make homemade granola bars, but I can pick up a big box of them and save myself a lot of time.
My favorite places to shop for healthy grab-and-go after school snacks are: Costco, Target, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods (sometimes they have great sales) and Amazon.
Healthy Grab-and-Go Snack Ideas for After School
The brands shared here are just examples of what my family eats. Your budget and preferences may be different, however, I often get asked for examples of what brands to buy, so I hope this is helpful to you!
Many of these ideas are also gluten-free and nut-free (school-safe).
- Siggis Yogurt Drinks or Pouches
- Stonyfield Organic Yogurt (cups, pouches, smoothies)
- Organic Valley or Horizon Organic string cheese
- Sargento cheese sticks
- Babybel cheese
- Tillamook Cheddar Squares
- Once Upon a Farm
- GoGo Squeez / Kirkland brand
- Peter Rabbit Organic
- Wholly Guacamole individual packs
- Sabra or Kirkland Hummus individual packs
- Dole Fruit Cups in 100% Juice
- Greenfield Lunchables
- Larbar Minis
- Larabar Kids
- Nature’s Bakery Bars
- MadeGood Granola Bars
- MadeGood Cookies
- Bitsy’s Cookies
- Annie’s Bunny Grahams
- EnjoyLife Cookies
- Simple Mills Crackers
- Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
- Bitsy’s Crackers
- Peeled Snacks Pea Puffs
- Late July Peanut Butter Crackers
- Annie’s Bunnies Fruit Snacks
- Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bar
- That’s It Fruit Bar
- Dried Blueberries or Raisins
- Unsweetened applesauce cups
- Crunchies or Trader Joe’s freeze-dried fruit
How to Make a Snack Station
Buying snacks from the store is just the first step to making your life easier – setting them up in a grab-and-go snack station? Now that’s a mom hack I can get on board with!
If your fridge doesn’t have a separate drawer you can use, try out some clear plastic bins to corral all the healthy grab-and-go snacks.
I have some favorite bins saved in my Amazon Shop that I use in my own kitchen.
Be sure to tag me on IG @becauseisaidsobaby if you try any of these ideas – I’d love to see!
What to Read Next:
- Genius Organization Tips for Back to School
- Easy Preschool Lunchbox Ideas
- Back-to-School Resources for SAHMs
- Best Lunchbox Gear for Preschool
- 1 Year Old Lunchbox Ideas (Daycare or Preschool)