After-school snacks are a great way to give your kids the nutrients they may have missed earlier in the day. Dr. Lippitt suggests fruits and vegetables, and if celery sticks are a tough sell, she says a little hummus or ranch dip is a perfect addition.
However, rather than allowing your kids to eat their way through the afternoon, Sarah says to serve them dinner in place of an after-school snack, a method she practices in her own home. "The purpose of this," she says, "is so they're not grazing on empty-calorie foods all afternoon: candies, high-sugared cereals, fruit drinks. Give them their dinner at 4 p.m., and then sit down as a family at 7 p.m., and they can have their small snack."
If your kids spend the afternoon in childcare, Sarah suggests packing an extra snack in their lunch to save to tide them over until dinner. Although they may be provided a snack, you won't be able to guarantee it's nutritious.