My little food allergy baby is in fourth grade this year. Fourth grade!!!
Through all the ups and downs of managing Jillian’s food allergies, I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things.
Snacks were a constant struggle for me in the early years. It’s not just about finding a safe food for her to eat — it needs to be healthy & nutritious, filling (which can be especially tricky without the protein of dairy), and of course YUMMY for kids!
When my non-allergic son came along, I decided to feed him the same way as Jillian… for the most part. He will eat the occasional macaroni and cheese now when we go out, but at home, their diet is the same.
Since he started in Kindergarten at “the big school” this year, they both get off the bus super hungry and ready to chow down!
Luckily, I’ve had a few years to perfect my list of safe*, healthy, filling and delicious after school snacks!
*Please ALWAYS read the ingredients before blindly giving any of these foods to your child. Ingredients of foods you’ve given your child for years can change (I have caught a few over the years!), and you want to have the most up-to-date info… which is on the package in front of you — NOT on a blog.
Our Top 20 Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Snacks:
1. Popcorn. Orville Redenbacher’s Natural Simply Salted is our fave. We usually pair this with #2 for a salty-and-sweet snack.
2. Banana or apple slices with Sunbutter (more filling) or cinnamon sugar (sweet treat).
5. Craisins or raisins and chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life mini chips). Mix them together for a simple snack.
6. Trail mix. I have made this for the kids for YEARS!!! It is my favorite snack for grab-and-go situations. Mix up a big container of it, and pop it in a handy snack bag on the way out the door. (Plus, you can add to it whatever your kids like — Cheerios, mini marshmallows, OK!)
7. Fresh fruit kabobs (with melted chocolate, if you please!).
8. Dried fruit, apple chips, banana chips. Make your own in the oven or buy in bulk — just check those labels!! Some dried fruit has nut cross-contamination.
9. No-bake cookies. Our family’s old favorite recipe. Get the kids involved in making them — it’s super easy and fun!
10. Sorbet. I like to give this to the kids on Friday afternoons as a special treat, and I let them go nuts with the toppings — chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, sprinkles, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips…
11. Celery with Sunbutter (and raisins, if you’re going for “ants on a log”).
12. Veggies with dressing or hummus. For us, Italian dressing is the go-to. We have even found a safe Creamy Italian Dressing, which is very similar to Ranch, but without the dairy. (Again, check those ingredients!)
13. Granola bars. I found this recipe for No-Bake Granola Bars on Pinterest, and both kids LOVED them. I mean LOVED them! In fact, I’m overdue to make some more. (Of course, use safe margarine and chocolate chips.)
14. Frozen chocolate-covered bananas. A healthy alternative to the popsicle. (OK, maybe healthier without the sprinkles…)
15. Chips & salsa. Again, ingredients, ingredients… but there are a lot of safe options in the chips & salsa category.
16. Fruit Strips. Today’s version of the classic Fruit Roll-Ups that we all loved so much… and begged our moms to buy us at the grocery store. Now organic!
17. Mug Cakes. Incredibly simple and quick to make, and if you have more than one kiddo, they can each pick their own flavor!
18. Lunchmeat roll-ups. Either roll up plain lunchmeat and skewer it on toothpicks, or add a slice of vegan cheese or a smear of vegan cream cheese. My kids enjoy all three ways.
19. Graham crackers, Sunbutter (or vegan cream cheese) and raisins. My kids enjoy this treat so much, sometimes I pack it for their lunches!
20. Frozen fruit (plain or with brown sugar or honey). Frozen strawberries were always a favorite snack of mine growing up. Now we do mixed berries with bananas!
21. Cupcakes! If you’re in the baking mood, you could always have a sweet treat ready for them when they get home. How about these awesome chocolate cupcakes with white icing? And feel free to leave off the chocolate chip “ghost eyes” if it’s not Halloween time. 😉
There you have it. My top 20 + 1 list of easy, healthy(ish), filling, allergy-friendly after school snacks.
What are your kids’ favorite after school snacks?