After school snacks are tricky. Too much and you’ve ruined their dinner. Too little and you have anarchy. Both can drive parents crazy.

My kids would come home after school hungry or hangry—especially when they participated in after school sports. 

I remember when I was a kid, my mother was “the only parent” who didn’t let us eat snacks like chips, crackers.  I thought she was being mean. When I had my own family, it made me think about what and how I was feeding my own kids.

My list is healthy and loaded with good fats and protein—things that will stick, but not ruin dinner. All are fast, healthy and mom approved—at least this mom.

10. Peanuts. A fourth of a cup goes a long way. 

9. Hummus with carrot chips. Carrots are crunchy, a perfect substitute for pita chips. Cut the carrots diagonally into thin slices.

8. Apple slices dipped in almond butter.

7. Sliced cheddar cheese. Need I say more? Cheese is amazing.

6. Cottage cheese with a slice of toast. Try it. It’s super.

5. Bananas with yogurt. Try with unsweetened yogurt. The banana is sweet enough, but if you need some extra sweetness, drizzle with honey.

4. Half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Unsweetened peanut butter is perfect when paired with a little jelly on whole grain bread.

3. A glass of whole milk. Milk is full of protein and good fats. Plus, it goes down fast, and the hunger pains are gone instantly.

2. Left-overs. My fridge is always full of left-overs. I used to tell my kids anything is fair game, but I’d help with portion control or they would be too full for dinner. 

1.My personal favorite—baked potato. Pop it in the microwave, then top with some butter and salt. This is a great snack for kids in sports because it helps replenish electrolytes and lost salt. 

Happy back to school, moms and dads!

Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes at or email her at

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