When our son started school last September, he wasn’t very good at eating his school dinners. In fact, to my Nutritional Therapist horror, some days he’d come home having only eaten chips and cake.
It was then that I vowed never to give my children sugary snacks after school again.
If you’ve read my post on Childhood Obesity, you’ll already know that I was a very overweight child.
Back then in the 80s, it was the norm to eat a dessert at lunch, biscuits post school plus pud after dinner (not to mention sugary cereals for breakfast).
The trouble was, this kind of diet got me used to running on sugar and refined carbs.
It built a sweet tooth along with excess poundage. My skin suffered, and my gut was a wreck.
I went through a steep learning curve..
..to kick these habits as a teenager.
I’m hoping my efforts will mean it’s not the same struggle for my kids.
These days, we know a bit more about food and it’s relation to health. Analysis shows that that white sugar and refined flour have no nutritional value.
Not only that, but they are empty calories that use up your vital vitamins and mineral stores to be processed into energy.
Excess sugar leads to disease
They’ve also been linked countless times to many degenerative and aging diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Furthermore, if you’re child is eating a large volume of sugar and white carbs (the beige diet), there isn’t a great deal of space in their day for anything healthy.
In usual day to day life, there’s always many outside opportunities to treat your child.
The ice cream van at the park, birthday parties, playdates, picnics and holidays. Most kids get offered some sort of pudding as part of their school dinner. So they certainly don’t need us offering them more at home.
When I introduced this NO SUGAR policy, I won’t lie, it was hard at first.
I was met with some resistance.
But very quickly they got accustomed to it, and now even ask for veggies and dips when they’re hungry.
It also gives them the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. They often make the dips themselves or enjoy blending up various smoothie concoctions.
At a time when our vitamins and mineral needs are higher than ever, it’s important to make sure our kids are getting enough fruit and veg. It’ll also get them into good habits for the future.
Not just the minimum 5 a day – but heading towards 10!
Deficiency = Disease
After all, research confirms that Deficiency in certain nutrients = Disease. And we know that a well nourished body will fight off infections more efficiently.
More on optimal nutrients levels to fight virus’s here.
For this reason, I always give my children fruit and vegetables for their afternoon snack.
Our Top 5 After School Snacks
And it’s really nothing fancy…
Crudité and dips
There’s something about the dish I use. Like snacks at a party, whatever I put on it, it seems to disappear.
In the middle is my beetroot hummus – which is my peanut butter hummus recipe with a couple of cooked beetroot blended in. We also like to make guacamole, salsa or a cucumber yoghurt dip, which all go down well.
Stewed fruit and natural yoghurt
Sometimes in the Winter, you just want something warm. I stew cooking apples with a tin of pears in their juice to add natural sweetness.
Then serve warm with a sprinkling of cinnamon, natural yoghurt and crushed nuts.
Live Natural Yoghurt is great for gut health and the immune system too – 5 Easy Ways to Better Gut Health
Frozen Berry Smoothie
It’s easy to get fruit in your children when you whip up a smoothie.
This one is very simple, 300ml rice milk, large handful of frozen berries, 1/2 banana, 1tbsp live natural yoghurt (serves 2 kids). Whizz up for a refreshing after school snack.
In the Summer these can be frozen in to lollies.
For other recipe ideas click here. Immune Boosting Smoothies – Health in Synergy
Sliced apple and sugar free peanut butter
In my eyes, anything goes well with peanut butter.
Sliced apple adds the sweetness that kids crave with the moreish peanut butter drizzled over the top, it’s a match made in heaven.
There are plenty of brands of peanut butter these days that don’t add any salt or sugar – just nuts, blended. It’s also easy to make you’re own in a blender.
Almond and cashew nut butter also works well.
Buttered corn on the cob
Just that! Steamed corn with butter and black pepper. YUM!
Adding some kind of fat to your veggies increases the bioavailability of the fat soluble vitamins.
At the weekends we indulge a little bit more.
What’s your favourite healthy afternoon snack?? I’d love to hear about it! Please leave comments below or message me directly.