For kids with activities directly after school, chances are they'll need a boost of nutrition before they begin practice and sport activities. Be sure to choose snacks that are still safe to eat at the end of the school day.
"As a general rule of thumb, foods should not sit out unrefrigerated for more than two hours; in hot weather, 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above, the time is reduced to one hour," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Deborah Beauvais.
When sending kids to school with an after-school snack when a refrigerator isn't available, Beauvais recommends packing nourishing, shelf-stable foods, such as:
- Breads/grains: Single-serving boxes of whole-wheat cereal and trail mix, energy bars, granola bars, cereal bars, whole-wheat bagels and popcorn without added butter
- Fruits and vegetables: Carrot and celery sticks and other cut-up raw vegetables, grapes, single-serve applesauce, washed whole fruit (apples, peaches, bananas), dried fruit mix and 100-percent juice boxes
- Meat and other protein sources: Cans of tuna, peanut butter (for sandwiches or with celery and apples), nuts and single-serve packages of peanut butter and whole-wheat crackers.
Teach your children to carefully wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating or handling food. Include a packet of moist towelettes in your child's lunch to serve as a friendly reminder to clean up before lunchtime.