Why do all snacks for kids seem to be full of nasty preservatives, GMOs, and sugar!?
I'm looking at you, Lunchables...
Finding kid-friendly and healthy lunch snacks for school can be tough. And even if you find something that seems decent, who's to say your kid will actually like it?
Not to mention them changing their minds every other day!
Well, we've been there, and to help you out, we’ve compiled the best, snackiest, healthiest, kid-friendliest options we know of.
(I'm talking to myself as well here).
1. Homemade pizza bites
All kids love pizza.
It's pretty much an unwritten law, and even the pickiest eaters will have a hard time saying no to pizza bites!
The problem is that Bagel Bites and Pizza Rolls are full of nasty preservatives! But, making your own "pizza bites" is easier than you think.
And you can make these as healthy as you want. Sub pepperoni for veggie sausage (or Chomps!), use feta instead of cheddar, etc.
You have options! (Just don't get specific with the kids).
Here are a few recipes from Diner, then Dessert and Mum in the Mad House to get started.
2. Ants on a log
I feel like half the power is in the name, but natural peanut butter, raisins (or grapes), and celery sticks are fun and healthy snacks for kids' lunch boxes.
If you want, you could include one with chocolate chips instead of raisins as a healthier dessert snack surprise.
Just remember to pitch them as ants on a log and not celery sticks. :)
3. Natural crackers and low-fat cheese
Similar to pizza bites, if you use healthy crackers and cheese, it can make all the difference. Say goodbye to Ritz and American cheese and hello to natural crackers like Back to Nature and feta or mozzarella!
See our non-GMO chips blog for more healthy chip options.
4. Homemade Applesauce
Give your kids a little bit of sweetness with homemade applesauce. It can be fun to make with the kids, and it’s soooo easy to make.
And by adding cinnamon and sugar, you can make it as sweet as you want.
Check out this recipe to see what I mean.
5. Yogurt & fruit
As long as you avoid Trix, GoGurt, and all the other super sugary yogurts, you can't really go wrong here.
Just include your kid's favorite fruit, a bit of granola, and ta-da!
Guess what? We have Chomps just for kids!
They're made with 100% grass-fed beef or free-range, antibiotic-free turkey. Kids love them (and you will too). They're like Slim Jims but cooler! They taste better, there are no additives, and the branding is super fun and exciting.
Each flavor has at least 4 grams of protein to keep you full longer and fewer than 50 calories. Try em', you won't regret it!
Here's the deal. Popcorn can either be pretty healthy or terrible for you, and that boils down to two things: what you put on top of it and whether or not you microwave it or not.
Microwave popcorn is often filled with harmful artificial flavorings like diacetyl, which has been linked to Alzheimer's and respiratory abnormalities in popcorn manufacturing workers! And the bags can contain carcinogenic PFOA! No, no, no!
Instead, just make some at home and top them with your own butter and seasoning! Or throw some caramel on top and pack them like your kid’s dessert.
8. Homemade Tomato Soup
Or sub whatever your kids like (assuming there's a microwave available at the school).
Soup is great because you can make one pot that will last the family for a few days at a time!
Here are a few recipes from Taste of Home and Food Network to get started.
Don’t forget to pack some bread on the side. :)
9. Squeaky Pops
I loooove Squeaky Pops.
They're awesome and healthy popcorn chips that kids love!
The branding is fun, they're non-GMO and are overall a great alternative to unhealthy chips.
Check them out on Amazon.
10. Cheese quesadillas
Similar to popcorn, quesadillas are all about how you make them.
Sure, if you get flour tortillas full of preservatives, then these won’t be super healthy!
But if you swap those for wheat tortillas and get creative with the cheese and filling, these can be really healthy and fun to eat for your kids.
11. Granola bars
We're not talking Quaker's here, but kids love granola bars — especially ones with chocolate!
There are a bunch of healthy brands like Rx & Luna, but those can be a bit expensive. If you're trying to save money, making granola bars at home isn't too hard and can be really fun.
Here's a great recipe from Sugar Spun Run.
12. Cheese cubes
Nothing fancy here, but cheese is cheese and kids are usually here for it.
Pack these along with some grapes, and you’ll have a third of your lunchbox knocked out in seconds.
Easy to peel, delicious, and sweet! Whenever clementines are in season, make sure you take advantage of them! I usually buy the big 3lb bags that last about a week or so.
14. Annie's Cheddar Bunnies
These are super tasty non-GMO alternatives to goldfish. They're still shaped like an animal, so your kid will enjoy eating them while staying healthy!
Find them on Amazon.
15. Apples and peanut butter
You can't go wrong with one of the ultimate lunchbox classics, apples, and peanut butter!
Similar to ants on a log, just make sure to use all-natural peanut butter.
There you have it!
As long as you keep a close eye on the ingredient list and get things as organic and natural as possible, you've got options! And making healthier snacks at home is always cheaper than buying pre-made organic foods.
Try making a list of your child's favorite foods and find your own alternative healthy snack ideas for school lunches! Maybe introduce one snack alternative a week to ease the transition.
Feeding children is almost always an ordeal, but I hope this gives you some inspiration. :)