7 After-School Snacks That Won’t Spoil Dinner

Tide your family over until dinner's ready with these quick, nutritious, kid-friendly snacks from Food Network.

By: Emily Lee

Food Network Kitchen’s healthy snacks taco popcorn as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Light, energizing and easy to prepare: That’s the elusive after-school snack trifecta. When store shelves are lined with chips, sugary fruit snacks and other empty calories, shopping for something that fits the bill can feel a lot like searching for a needle in a haystack. The obvious alternative is to skip store-bought options in favor of something homemade, but few people have time to prepare snacks in addition to dinner.

Beat the after-school crunch by preparing healthy foods over the weekend and keeping them on hand for later in the week. Homemade granola bars and trail mixes are a great place to start. Fresh veggies can be washed and cut in mere minutes, and vegetable-based dips such as guacamole or hummus make crudites seem appealing. Here are some more quick, nutritious, kid-friendly snacks to tide your family over till dinner’s ready.

Kids love popcorn, and this is one bowl you can feel good about handing them. Nutritional yeast is the secret ingredient in the taco spice blend. Dried and not active, it’s high in vitamin B12 and has a pleasant cheesy flavor, making it the perfect stand-in for actual dairy.

These nutty bars studded with dried fruit will stave off hunger pangs between lunch and dinner for only 167 calories per serving. Make a batch over the weekend so your family will have them on hand for quick and convenient after-school snacking throughout the week.

Greasy potato chips pale in comparison with these crispy baked chickpeas. It takes just five minutes to preheat the oven, pop open the can and toss the chickpeas in a simple seasoning of sea salt and olive oil. They’ll crisp up beautifully after about 50 minutes of baking.

Ellie Krieger's Chunky Guacamole as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Cholesterol free but rich in monounsaturated fats (i.e., the good fats), avocados leave you feeling sated but not stuffed, meaning guacamole makes an excellent after-school option. For a light snack on the fly, whip up Ellie Krieger’s 10-minute recipe, which includes red onion, cilantro leaves and fresh lime juice. Blue corn tortilla chips are great for scooping, as are sliced raw veggies.

Giada de Laurentiis's Goji Berry Trail Mix as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If your kids love munching on trail mix, try giving them this wholesome homemade version loaded with nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Many store-bought varieties contain hidden sugars — and not-so-hidden sugars in the form of candy.

Skip sugary pre-packaged applesauce in favor of Ina Garten’s light and flavorful homemade version. Made with fresh navel oranges, light brown sugar and cinnamon, it’s the perfect snack for a chilly fall afternoon.



Few kids (or adults) are excited by the sight of lettuce in a bowl. If getting your kids to eat more vegetables is a constant battle, try serving some fresh veggies on a stick with dressing on the side, for dipping. The fun presentation might warm them up to the idea of salads.

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