09/25/2013 05:07 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

After School Snacks To Keep Your Kids Happy And Healthy

Mother and children cutting fruit in the kitchen

The after-school slump doesn’t need to be a free-for-all of sugary sweets. With a little bit of planning ahead, you can pre-empt the inevitable pantry raid with delicious, wholesome snacks that will keep the kids satisfied until dinnertime. Here are eight great ideas that will help you fill the vital space between home time and homework with healthy snacks they won’t be able to get enough of. You’ll never hear “I’m hungry” as an excuse for avoiding homework again!

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Homemade trail mix: A perennial classic! Mixing together your favourite (unsalted) nuts with dried fruit will provide a fantastic -- and surprisingly filling -- alternative to the usual potato chips. Portion out ¼ cup servings to grab and go when strapped for time!

Sliced veggies with guacamole or bean dip: How do you bring new life to your classic vegetables? By serving them with a healthier dip! Encourage your kids to snack on sliced veggies with a nutrient-rich dip like guacamole, salsa, hummus or another type of bean dip for a maximum nutritional punch.

Vegetable muffins: If it’s tough getting your kids to eat their veggies, sneaking them into sweet treats is never a bad idea. Working healthy vegetables -- like carrots and zucchinis -- into your existing lower fat muffin recipe is a great way to marry sweet and healthy.

Yogurt popsicles: Many store-bought ice pops are packed with sugar and calories -- so why not make your own nutrient-rich versions? Yogurt can be your secret nutritional weapon.

Air-popped popcorn: If they’re craving a crunchy snack, serve up some air-popped popcorn. It will deliver a healthy dose of filling fibre to kill those after-school hunger pangs. Even better; two cups of popcorn has fewer calories and less fat than just a handful of regular potato chips. Now that’s a smart swap.

Apple slices with nut butter: This is a go-to snack for a lot of parents, thanks to its one-two punch of fibre and protein in the apple and nut butter, respectively. If the kids are getting tired of this snack, try some creative presentation tricks. Put some toothpicks in the apple slices, dipping them in nut butter, and rolling them in chopped nuts for a fun treat.

Baked pita chips with homemade salsa: Toast a whole-wheat pita, slice it up, and voila -- you’ve got tasty homemade pita chips. Store-bought salsas can be high in sugar and sodium, so try serving the chips with a homemade version.