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Fast and Healthy After-School Snacks for Teens

School. Sports. Extracurricular activities. Jobs. Let's face it, as a teen you're busier than ever these days. It can be especially hard to make healthy food and beverage choices when temptations lurk around every corner. Everything from fast-food restaurants to vending machines seem to be everywhere, tempting you to forget about your weight management goals.

Evidence shows that making healthy food and snack choices is very important to help support all the growth and development that's occurring during your teen years. Eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods means getting the right balance of nutrients. A balanced diet provides the fuel to keep us running. By eating fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat milk, yogurt and cheese, lean meats, eggs, beans and whole grains, you can help meet your body's needs — and make the right food decisions to work toward the body image you want.

The good news is that with a little bit of advanced planning you can easily make quick, healthy snacks that are yummy!

Use the ideas below to create some of your favorite snacks and talk to your parents about adding those foods to their weekly grocery list. Having healthier choices on hand can help you avoid the temptation to eat high-fat, high-sugar foods and keep up your energy with a healthy body and a sharp mind. Remember to plan some snack options that are easy to toss in a backpack, purse or car.

  • A crunchy apple with string cheese makes a great portable snack.
  • Try a fast and tasty smoothie: Blend your favorite fruits (like berries or bananas) with nonfat milk or yogurt and ice cubes. You can also make extra and store it in the fridge for a quick pre-homework boost.
  • Fresh fruit also goes great with a cup of low-fat cottage cheese. Put them in a Tupperware container and take your snack to go.
  • Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and throw it in your backpack for an afternoon snack.
  • Freshly-cut vegetables and dips like hummus or salsa make a great healthy snack. Buy pre-cut or bite-size veggies to save time. You can also find hummus in portable snack sizes.
  • Wrap celery or bell peppers with a slice of cheese for a crunchy treat.
  • Have a turkey or ham sandwich on healthy whole-grain bread. Add mustard plus a little low-fat mayo and pile on the veggies.
  • Healthy eating doesn't have to be bland. Try whole-wheat pretzels dipped in spicy mustard.
  • Cold cereal isn't just for breakfast! Whole grain cereal and non-fat milk make a great quick and nutritious snack.
  • A couple of cups of air popped popcorn make a handy high-fiber snack — just make sure to leave off fatty toppings like butter or cheese.
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