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Publication #FCS8865

Snack Attacks: Be Prepared1

Glenda L. Warren and Jennifer Walsh2

Children may feel hungry or have a “snack attack” right after school each day. Plan ahead and have ready-to-eat healthful foods available for children to enjoy. Use the MyPlate food groups as a guide to prepare snacks that will help children meet their nutritional needs.

Figure 1. 

Visit for more information on healthy eating and snacking.

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Offer snacks that include foods from at least two food groups below. Note: Some foods listed may be a choking hazard, especially for small children.

Table 1. 

Food Groups



Whole-grain crackers, dry cereal, mini bagels


Bell pepper rings, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, zucchini or cucumber slices


Bananas, raisins, apple slices, kiwi slices, peaches or pears canned in 100% juice


String cheese, yogurt, fat-free or low-fat milk, low-fat cottage cheese

Protein Foods

Peanut butter, bean dip, hummus, sliced lean turkey or chicken, shelled pumpkin seeds

Figure 2. 

Keep fruit or vegetables cut up and in a sealed container in the refrigerator so that your kids will have a healthy and easy snack available after school.


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Prepare snacks ahead of time by cutting up fruits and vegetables and storing them in the refrigerator. Create single servings by dividing large quantities of food into small, sealed bags or containers.

Limit snacks with foods or drinks that have added sugar like candy, cookies, and soda. Offer these foods once in a while for special occasions, not every day.

There are many other items from the food groups that you can consider for healthful snack options. Think about your budget, schedule, and the nutritional needs of your children.

Plan to have healthful snack options available before the next snack attack!


United States Department of Agriculture. “Developing Healthy Eating Habits.” Accessed November 1, 2012.



This document is FCS8865, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date December 2008. Revised November 2012. Please visit the EDIS website at


Glenda L. Warren, emeritus associate professor, Extension nutritionist, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; and Jennifer Walsh, PhD, RD, assistant instructor, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences; Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.