The Best After-School Snacks at the Grocery Store

From kindergarten through senior year of high school, the absolute best part about a school day ending was not the mellifluous tone of the bell, nor was it the relief of knowing you had at least an hour before having to start any homework. No, the best part of a school day ending was the promise of an after-school snack.

Whether it was relatively boring (a granola bar) or the good stuff (club crackers and apple slices), when consumed at 3:05 in the afternoon, anything tastes great. But which things taste the best? Well, that’s why we’re here—to tell you which snacks are best suited for that iconic post-school repast. Below are our top eight after-school snacks in order from snacky to satisfying.

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Sprouts Market Corner Low-Moisture Part-Skim String Cheese
best after school snack string cheese
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Instacart

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: People are sleeping on string cheese. We all write it off as a kids’ snack (which it can be, this is an article about after-school snacks, after all), but if you haven’t revisited peelable sticks of cheese as an adult, I implore you to get out there to Sprouts market and live a little. That being said, after school or work, or simply staring at a wall all day, string cheese is a perfect lil burst of protein and this Sprouts Market Corner String Cheese is the perfect lil’ burst of string cheese to fill the string cheese-sized hole in your heart. Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick praised this cheese for its fantastic texture, and said, “Even though it’s part-skim, the flavor is full fat.” 

Related: Best String Cheese: The 5 Best String Cheeses Will Transport You Back to Elementary School

Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese Snacks
best after school snack cheese
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Target

I can honestly say I had one of these Tillamook Cheddar Cheese Snacks in my lunch every single day of 4th through 6th grades, and when I wasn’t trading it for other things (I’m tellin’ ya these things are so good they were brownie-level tradable), I was saving it until right after school when I would enjoy it in peace while walking to my bike. Those were salty, creamy moment of bliss and I look back on them fondly. Moreover, it really is just a mini block of cheese, but as Sporked editorial assistant Naajia Shukri said, “It’s an appropriate, socially acceptable amount of cheese to have in public settings.” And that’s what makes it special…after-school special.

Related: Best Snacking Cheese: The 5 Best Snacking Cheeses to Eat Anywhere, Anytime

Good & Gather Cinnamon Applesauce
best after school snack applesauce
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Target

But Jessica! Whatever shall I do?! I tend to crave sweet snacks when 3:37 rolls around! (Side note, why do schools always end at like, “three eleventy four.5” and not on the half-hour? This has bothered me for years!) If you want a sweet snack but are either a ten year old who needs nutrients or a health-conscious adult looking for some dietary fiber, look no further than Good & Gather Cinnamon Applesauce. And for those of you turning up your noses at applesauce as a concept, I would ask you, what do you think a smoothie is? Also, this particular applesauce is, according to Sporked staff writer Danny Palumbo, “so sweet and fragrant that it feels like dessert.” So…yes I will be buying this for after work.

Related: Best Applesauce: The 7 Best Applesauces to Savor With a Spoon

Oikos Lemon Meringue Greek Yogurt
best after school snack greek yogurt
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Walmart

As we move from snacky into more satisfying territory, I must confess this is another item I often had in my lunch from 8th through 12th grade, and let me tell you, it is a treat! If you save it until after school, you essentially get to reward yourself with a lemon meringue pie at the end of a long day of learning the limit does not exist and that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Gwynedd accurately pointed out that “the tartness of the lemon and the natural tartness of the rich, decadent yogurt are a match made in heaven.” I agree with that wholeheartedly. This yogurt is a winner for sure.

Related: Best Greek Yogurt: Grab a Spoon for the 6 Best Greek Yogurt Flavors

Lunchables Pizza and Treatza 
best after school snack lunchables
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Ralphs

We’ve now headed out of snack and into “almost full meals,” but hey, If you’re home around 3:30 p.m. and your parents won’t be home until 7 p.m., or if your family just desires to dine fashionably late, sometimes you need something to tie yourself over until real dinnertime. Enter: Lunchables with Pizza and Treatza. That’s two different kinds of ‘za if you’re keeping score. And, according to Jordan, both ‘zas apparently taste pretty good! Obviously not gourmet, but definitely interactive in the best way possible. Plus the Treatza comes with frosting 🙂

Related: Best Lunchables: Which Lunchables Are Worthy of Adult Consumption?

José Olé Beef & Cheese Taquitos
best after school snack taquitos
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Vons

Now, these next few snacks are for those special after-school circumstances where you both happen to have access to a microwave and are allowed to use it. First up? Taquitos. Specifically José Olé Beef & Cheese Taquitos. I must confess, I only ever had after-school taquitos if I had a playdate at someone else’s house and their mom heated some up. Boy, were taquitos a special treat. And these Taquitos in particular? Muah! Chef’s kiss. Gwynedd described these as “flaky, savory, and the filling is so moist thanks to the ample amount of cheese in the mix.” Also, when she was eating them, she noted that her taquito had “cheese exploding out of its butt” (always a win) and that the beef actually tasted beefy. 

Related: Best Frozen Taquitos: We’re on a Roll with the 6 Best Frozen Taquitos

Impossible Nuggets
best after school snacks
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Target

I’m going to be honest, I never had chicken nuggets as an after-school snack. But would I have loved to have had chicken nuggets as an after-school snack? YOU BET YOUR BUTT I WOULD’VE. Even Impossible nuggets would’ve probably made my whole year. Because guys, Impossible Chicken Nuggets just taste like chicken nuggets. They’ve truly done the impossible with these things. Jordan noted that it’s “wild how good and chickeny the Impossible Nuggets are.” During Sporked team’s plant-based nugget taste test, this was the only nugget that actually tasted like dark-meat chicken. In other words, try them! Feed them to your kid after school! Make their whole year! Make your own year!

Related: Best Vegan Chicken Nuggets: 6 Vegan Nuggets That Give the Drive-Thru a Run for Its Money

Lean Cuisine French Bread Pepperoni Pizza
best after school snack pizza
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / iStock / Instacart

Lastly, a literal meal. For when you are a hungry growing person and you need fuel so you can grow up to be the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and you cannot possibly wait until dinner to acquire said fuel. This may be a Lean Cuisine meal but don’t write it off just yet, the bread may not be bakery level and the cheese may not be mozzarella taken straight from the teet of an Italian cow, but the pepperoni? Gwynedd described it as “salty, oily, and spicy,” and by my calculations, that’s everything you want in a pepperoni. Also, this may be a hot take, but even the saddest of pizzas can be completely saved by the presence of a solid pepperoni. So will this pizza satisfy your post-school, pre-dinner pizza itch? Signs point to yes.

Related: Best Lean Cuisine Meals: The 8 Leanest and Meanest in the Freezer


About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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