Immunity Boosting After-School Snacks - MetroFamily Magazine
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Immunity Boosting After-School Snacks

by Maddie & Kim Bilger

After-school snacks are important at our house because we’re hungry when we get home. If I try to do my homework or play outside before I have a snack I would feel tired and I would run out of energy. I might also be pretty hangry! When I eat a snack right after school, it gives me energy and makes me smarter to do my homework.

My mom says a snack after school should be made of healthy choices. She says I should try to have something with protein to keep me feeling full until dinner, and that I should choose snacks that don’t have a lot of sugar because I’m sweet enough already! When I choose snacks like that, I feel like it helps me have more energy and think better.

Here are some of my favorite after-school snack ideas:

  • veggie straws, a cheese stick and an orange
  • crackers, cheese and bell peppers
  • yogurt and fruit

My younger brother and sister also like:

  • Clif Zbars®
  • cheese stick and a fruit leather
  • yogurt and fruit smoothie
  • zucchini banana muffins that my mom makes

I like to make things in the kitchen so sometimes my mom and I make the After-School Banana Bread from the Magnolia Table cookbook or Energy Bites from a recipe she found on @blessthismessblog. We’ve included the recipes to share!

Mom’s Corner

Focusing on getting fruits and/or vegetables in at snack times helps get kids to the goal of 2 to 4 cups per day. Nutrients found in fruits and veggies can also boost your immune system, which we could all use right about now! Vitamin C found in oranges, broccoli and bell peppers, vitamin D found in dairy products, vitamin E found in nuts and seeds and zinc found in whole grains make these foods great snack choices.

I sneak some ground flaxseed (find it in the baking aisle of most grocery stores) into smoothies and muffins for some added omega-3s in their diets to offer a little boost to their brain and heart health. We keep a small bucket of mom-approved snacks in the laundry room where the kids hang up backpacks for a quick, easy grab on their way in from school or on their way out to an after-school activity. We also keep veggies, fruit, yogurt and cheese on lower shelves in the fridge for easy access (and to limit fridge-climbing endeavors).

After-School Banana Bread
adapted from Magnolia Table cookbook

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4-5 very ripe bananas, mashed (I like to leave them a little chunky) 
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional; can sub 1 cup chocolate chips instead!)
  • 1-2 tbsp granulated sugar, as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pan with nonstick baking spray or line with parchment paper. I have also tried it in a bundt pan and it came out great!
  2. In stand mixer or with hand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add the bananas and mix until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Add the pecans (or chocolate chips, if using) and mix until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the sugar over the top. (I prefer to cook mine about 5 minutes and then sprinkle the sugar on top to give it a little crunch)
  5. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45- 50 minutes. Let the bread cool slightly in the pan on a rack. Slice and serve warm with butter, if desired.
  6. When completely cooled, cover with foil and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Energy Bites
adapted from @blessthismessblog

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) oats (can substitute gluten free oats; either old fashioned or quick oats work)
  • 2/3 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes (we’re a no on coconut at our house so I use more oats)
  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Add everything to a medium bowl and mix well to combine.
  2. Stick the bowl in the fridge and let it chill for about half an hour. This resting time helps to ensure that the energy bites will stick together when rolled.
  3. After the chilling time, take a tablespoon of the mixture in your hand and roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining oat mixture. If they aren’t sticking together well, add a little more honey or nut butter, stir well and try rolling again.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer much longer. You can also sub dried blueberries or raisins for the chocolate chips, and add a dash of cinnamon, or use a combo of mini M&Ms and chocolate chips for a monster cookie taste!

Maddie is in the 4th grade at Washington Irving Elementary School. She is big sister to Micah, 7, and Hallie, 4. Kim Bilger, MPH, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping people optimize their nutritional health. Kim’s husband and kids appreciate her love of baking but not always her love of vegetables

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