As another school year kicks off, no doubt you're schedule's already filling up. But as any parent to a school-aged child knows, after-school snacks are a must for those ravenous growing kiddos. So what's a busy family to do? Prepackaged snacks aren't usually the healthiest options but when you're on the go convenience is king. The good news is, you can have your healthy snacks – and eat them, too – without spending all day prepping, with these easy and tasty plant-based after-school snacks. Best of all? Your kiddos will love 'em.
10 quick and easy plant-based after-school snacks
1. MamaSezz Not-A-Cookies
Let's kick things off with by the far the easiest after-school snack on this list – MamaSezz Not-A-Cookies. Your child's sweet tooth does not have to be at odd's with a healthy vegan lifestyle thanks to this sweet treat that just happens to be good for you...
Not-A-Cookies are made with non-GMO, gluten-free, 100 percent whole food plant-based ingredients – and zippo chemicals – so your kiddos can really dig in after-school and parents feel zero guilt.
- high in protein (for a plant-powered afternoon!)
- high in fiber (hello happy tummies!)
- filled with disease-fighting antioxidants
- loaded with immunity-boosting zinc
- refined sugar-free and naturally sweetened with nature's candy, the humble date!
- cholesterol, free, baby!
The absolute best part (for the busy parent): you don't have to bake 'em yourself! This healthy and sweet vegan snack arrives to your door ready-to-eat (perfect for grab-and-go after-school situations). Wins across the board!
2. Oil-free Hummus and Veggies
Think you can't get enough protein on plants? Say hello to hummus – the perfect nutrient-dense and protein-packed after-school snack for your vegan (or plant curious!) family.
With just five ingredients, you can whip this oil-free hummus up ahead (in just 5 minutes!) and store in your fridge to be served with baby carrots or your kids' favorite raw veggies after school.
Pro tip: if you have a little more time on your hands or if your kids' are coming home with some pals after school, throw together a vegan snack board easily by pairing hummus with lots of sliced veggies to a platter (cucumber, carrots, celery, bell peppers), your favorite whole-grain crackers, and grapes.
3. Vegan Banana Muffins
Yes, muffins can be a healthy after-school snack...when you make this vegan refined sugar–free banana bread muffins recipe. A great batch-cook snack for the plant-based kiddo with a sweet tooth. Bake once, snack all week.
4. Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
Image and Recipe from The Big Man's World
If your kids prefer savory vegan after-school snacks, you gotta try roasted chickpeas. They're oh-so-versatile and satisfy that crispy craving – without being doused in oil.
5. Oil-free Apple Bread
Recipe and Image from This Healthy Kitchen
Is apple picking on the docket this fall? This oil-free apple bread is the perfect way to use up your bounty! Easy to make and made with ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry, this apple bread can be baked on the weekend and enjoyed all week long. It even freezes well so make two and freeze one for next week (just be sure to slice it before you put in the freezer!).
Went wild at the orchard? Here are some more vegan recipes for all those apples your family picked.
6. Apple slices with nut butter (or sun butter)
Speaking of apples, apples with nut butter (or sun butter if you're a nut-free household) is an after-school staples in the fall. It's easy, convenient, and healthy – checking all the boxes for your vegan after-school snacking needs. And if your kiddos are a little older, they can easily cut up the apple for themselves!
7. Smoothie pops
Do you make smoothies in the morning for breakfast? Save the leftovers by pouring your smoothie into popsicle molds to freeze during the school day. When your kids get home, voilà – a refreshing and healthy plant-based after-school snack for those fall days that still feel like summer.
Need some smoothie inspo? Here are the 7 components of a healthy vegan smoothie.
8. Frozen grapes and raw nuts
Yes, grapes are good. But frozen grapes? Out of this world. And they're super easy to make. Just pop 'em in the freezer in the morning and they're ready to go after-school. If your family eats nuts, pair with your kids' favorite raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts) and enjoy!
9. Raw vegan cookie dough
Yep, we are really advocating you give your kids raw cookie dough as a healthy after-school snack...hear us out...
This raw vegan cookie dough is made without eggs, so no salmonella risk, and without refined sugar, so no wild sugar rush. Better yet, it's packed with protein because it's made with chickpeas! (But your kids don't have to know that.)
10. Raspberry Lime Chia Jello
Another vegan dessert recipe that doubles as a healthy after-school snack. Protein-rich and full of Omega-3s, this chia jello is super easy to make: simply blend and chill for a sweet treat you can feel good about serving.
Pro tips for busy families serving plant-based after-school snacks
1. Foster independence with self-serve stations
Image from nurturemygut.com
You can make sure your kid is fed without being at their beck-and-call the minute they get back from school. How? A parents' BFF: the self-serve snack station. Put healthy snack options in a basket they're able to reach or in a drawer in the fridge they can access. Here are some tips from Nurture My Gut for creating an inviting healthy self-serve after-school snack station.
2. Satiate those ravenous tummies by focusing on fiber-rich foods
Make snack time count by filling up your kids with whole carbs over refined carbs. When the fiber or other important nutrients or minerals are stripped from a food it becomes “refined.” The fiber in whole carbs helps the glucose to slowly release into your bloodstream which gives your kids a nice steady stream of energy. And since fiber takes longer to digest you feel full longer – so your kiddos can stay satiated until dinnertime.
3. Make sure your kids are hydrated, too!
Sometimes we think we're hungry but we're really thirsty. If your kiddos are on still on the littler side, make sure they have water available at their level, too, either with small water pitchers or a water dispenser they can easily use.
By Ali Brown
Ali is a mom, wife, and nutrition and lifestyle writer and editor. She has her Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.