(ARA) - When school starts, kids' schedules fill up fast, and that means they need the right fuel to keep their growing bodies and minds satisfied. After a long day of learning, kids require a snack that will get them through homework, after-school sports and other activities until dinner is served. Before you reach for the default bag of chips, consider these healthier alternatives that are just as easy and convenient.
Creative, healthier after-school snack ideas that your kids will gobble up:
1. Refresh with frozen apple sauce
Apple sauce has been a snacking staple for years, but now you can add a little excitement to those prepackaged apple packs. Simply buy Tree Top apple sauce cups, made with 100 percent USA apples, and place them in the freezer for a tasty treat similar to sorbet, and a healthier alternative to most ice cream and frozen snacks. Kids can grab them on their own when they get home from school so mom and dad don't have to lift a finger. Stock up on Tree Top apple juice boxes, too, for a complementary, easy grab-and-go drink option.
2. Delight in dip
It's no secret kids love to dip, so make after-school snacking more interesting by providing dip along with fresh fruit, veggies and crackers. Instead of salad dressing, change things up by mixing a single serve apple sauce cup with two tablespoons of peanut butter for a healthier dip alternative. Watch as your little ones wolf down their carrots, celery, apples, pretzels and more. Parents love that this dip option has many nutritional benefits - the apple sauce in it is a good source of vitamin C and peanut butter is packed with protein.
3. Wrap it up
Keeping whole wheat tortillas on hand is a smart move for any parent because they are extremely versatile. When kids come home from school hungry, it's easy to take a tortilla and fill it with their favorite nutritious fillings. For example, spread with classic peanut butter and jelly, add some banana and honey, or fill with turkey and mozzarella for a satisfying snack that keeps kids focused through all their homework.
4. Happily hydrated
Making sure your kids are hydrated is an important part of keeping them healthy and feeling great each day. When kids are busy at school and with after-school activities, they can become dehydrated quickly. Instead of sugary sodas, choose a more nutritious alternative like Tree Top reduced sugar 100 percent fruit juices. These tasty and refreshing drinks are made with hydrating coconut water and no artificial sweeteners and have 25 percent less sugar than regular 100 percent juices.
5. A smooth finish to the school day
Smoothies are a fun way for kids to get a ton of nutrients in one single drink. It's easy for parents to stock up on frozen fruit at the local grocery store. Then, when kids get home, they can choose what flavors they want and you can blend the fruit with low-fat milk, yogurt and ice for a cool and delicious drink. You might even sneak in a few veggies by adding a splash of vegetable juice, or a couple pre-steamed vegetables like carrots, kale or squash. The fruit flavors are so robust, your kids won't even notice the veggies.
Healthy after-school snacks don't have to be boring or bland. Try these ideas and you can feel good about what your kids eat - they may love them so much they'll be requesting them every day.