As a registered dietitian and a mom, I know that packing healthy snacks for lunch boxes can be a challenging chore for busy parents. Kids crave variety, turning their cute little noses up at our fresh-fruit standbys. And with the daily juggle of jobs and activities, there’s often zero time left to create the healthy snacks from scratch that we might want to.
Fortunately, many food companies are responding to the demand for higher standards when it comes to healthier store-bought snacks.
They know we’re looking for:
- Nutrient density: The best lunch box snacks offer nutrients kids need, like protein, healthy fats, and fiber, while limiting offenders like added sugar.
- Simple ingredients: Parents and caregivers shouldn’t have to weed through unrecognizable words to determine whether a snack meets their criteria.
- Good flavor: Otherwise, it won’t get into those darling bellies.
With those guidelines in mind, here are a few gems I’ve spotted while browsing for the best healthy lunch box snacks.
Does your child crave savory snacks? Chomplings are a great choice! Packed with satisfying protein, these little meat sticks are smaller versions of original Chomps. With a variety of flavors to choose from, they’re made with humanely raised beef, venison, or turkey.
Chomps uses simple ingredients for flavor and freshness like celery juice, peppers, garlic, and salt. The animals are grass-fed, increasing nutritional value. As a big bonus, Chomps products are free from added sugar as well as the top eight allergens.
Chomplings Original Beef Sticks: Calories 40 kcals, Carbohydrates 0g, Fat 3g, Protein 4g
2. Skinny Pop Popcorn
Whole grains like popcorn can be a healthy lunch box snack, offering fiber and other nutrients to the diet. Skinny Pop keeps its recipe simple with only popcorn, sunflower oil, and salt in the bag. Reading labels is key when it comes to prepared popcorn since many brands contain excess ingredients.
Skinny Pop 18g bag: Carbohydrates 10g, Fat 7g, Protein 1g
3. Sunnie Fresh Snacks
This company was created by two moms who wanted healthier snack combos for kids. Sunnie Fresh offers a variety of hearty dips like hummus, guacamole, and salsa with cassava-flaxseed or whole wheat crackers. Sunnie products are 100% organic and wrapped in kid-friendly, colorful packaging.
Hummus Dippers: Calories 180 kcals, Carbohydrates 19g, Fat 11g, Protein 5g
4. Friendly Grains Crunchy Rollers
This crispy snack has a small amount of sugar added, making it taste like a special treat. Crunchy Rollers’ only other ingredient is organic brown rice, which adds energy and fiber to the diet.
Crunchy Rollers 2 Pack: Calories 100 kcals, Carbohydrates 18g, Fat 0g, Protein 1g
5. Trader Joe’s Organic Roasted Seaweed with Sea Salt
If you haven’t tried roasted seaweed, you’re missing out. This sea-veggie is low in calories but loaded with important vitamins and minerals. Many kids enjoy roasted seaweed as a fun alternative to potato chips.
TJ’s Seaweed: Calories 30 kcals, Carbohydrates 1g, Fat 2g, Protein 1g
6. Love Corn
Love Corn is a crunchy, roasted, whole-grain snack. It’s made only with corn, sunflower oil, salt, and spices. Compared to other brands, Love Corn is lower in fat and has fewer unnecessary ingredients.
Love Corn .7oz pouch: Calories 90 kcals, Carbohydrates 14g, Fat 2g, Protein 1g
7. Kind Mini Nut Bars
Kind has a reputation for providing quality snack bars while promoting human kindness within its business model. Their nut bars are particularly filling and include chicory root fiber, which feeds your little one’s gut microbiome. Kind Minis are just the right size for school lunch box snacks.
Kind Minis Salted Carmel Dark Chocolate Nut Bar: Calories 100 kcals, Carbohydrates 8g, Fat 7g, Protein 3g
8. That’s It Mini Fruit Bars
When it comes to clean ingredients, it doesn’t get simpler than That’s It products. As the brand implies, what’s listed on the front label is all that’s in the package. For example, their Apple Blueberry bar is pureed apples and blueberries, and that’s it.
If your growing child needs a heartier snack, try pairing fruit bars with a tasty Chomplings turkey stick to keep them full longer!
That’s It Mini Apple Blueberry Fruit Bars: Calories 60 kcals, Carbohydrates 12g, Fat 0g, Protein 0g
Packing the best lunch box snacks becomes much less challenging once you know about trustworthy brands like Chomps. They keep kids’ needs in mind with their wholesomeness and delicious flavors.