Packing school lunches can be frustrating, and finding the snacks that are filling and energizing, plus school, mom and kid approved can be difficult. My friends and clients find it hardest to send “healthy” snacks- vegetables, fruit, and protein-rich foods. So here you go, I’ve put together a list of snack ideas that fit this criteria! All foods can be found in regular grocery stores (not specialty shops) or easily made at home.
protein-rich school snacks for kids & teens:
Protein helps with satisfaction- it keeps us feeling full. Whether for snack or lunch, these ideas are easy and convenient options.
- Cheese! In string cheese or small packs, these are a fun and filling addition to a lunch box. A super simple lunch idea I’ve heard is to take a small soft roll, poke your finger through it and then insert a string cheese. Voila! a lunch is made, and kids of pretty much any age can do that 🙂
- Dried beans are popping up everywhere in tons of delicious flavors. Beans are high in protein and fibre, so they’re also filling. You can buy a big pack and divvy it up into lunch bags, or make your own.
- Hard boiled eggs-Boil up a bunch of these one day, and just add into lunch, or have as an on-the-run breakfast. For even more convenience, you can even buy these ready to go!
- Hummus cups-Hummus makes everything more exciting-vegetables, crackers… basically dips are a fun addition to lunch.
- Canned fish- Pull-tab cans are a convenient snack addition that just needs a fork to enjoy. Perfect for everyone who doesn’t like soggy bread or crackers, or needs a shelf-stable snack for emergencies. These come in different fish and assorted flavors for more snack variety.
- Other ideas: Yogurt and mini cottage cheese packs are other protein-rich snacks. Pack an ice-pack or frozen water bottle to keep them cold. Packs of peanut or nut butters also work, depending on your school’s allergy policy.
Vegetable school snacks for kids & teens:
Fruit and vegetables can be difficult to send- they get mushy or slimy, change colours, or just get unappetizing. And you can put them in containers, but then your kid is shlepping all that extra weight around.
Vegetables are often harder for kids to eat, yet something we pressure them to have. By giving them in school, they get the veggies without the pressure and so may be more willing to eat them. Send veggies your child likes along with some new ones they may be learning to enjoy.
- Mini veggies- Small vegetables tend to travel better than their larger, sliced versions. Plus they’re so much cuter and fun to eat! Mini peppers, cherry tomatoes and baby cucumbers are some popular options.
- Edamame- available all year in the freezer section, these can be easily and safely transported, and are also easy to eat
- Sturdy vegetables- some veggies can withstand more pressure and can be sent as-is, such as peas (in or out of shell) and carrots (baby or sliced), broccoli and cauliflower.
- Canned veggies- these are still vegetables! Think baby corn, carrots, hearts of palm etc. just remove from can and transfer to a Ziplock bag.
- Pickles and pickled vegetable skewers (pictured) are another fun way to send vegetables. Make sure to package them well to prevent the juice spilling (I remember too many pickled hot pepper leaks in elementary school).
Fruit school snacks for kids & teens:
There are lots of “fruit snacks” available in the snack aisle. But I like to avoid those with added sugar- fruit is naturally sweet and kid friendly, you usually can go without added sweeteners. Here are some of my findings.
- Berries, especially frozen, usually travel well in a container, and are a refreshing and hydrating snack
- Dried fruit and fruit bars are non-perishable ways to bring and eat fruit. These bars have no added sugar, they’re just dried fruit smooched into a bar. Unsweetened dry fruit may be a less expensive option that also works well
- Fruit cups and apple sauce are a convenient way to send fruit (these were staples in my lunches growing up!)
- This way of slicing an apple prevents it from browning, because none of the flesh is exposed to the air. Take an apple and slice it fully without removing the core, and place directly into a bag. (You may have seen this with a rubber band around it, but this works just as well).
- Freeze dried fruit are another fun and convenient way to pack fruit without going bad, and they’re (as far as I’ve seen) all free of added sugar- they’re just dried fruit!
What snack foods do you send with your kids? Was this post helpful? Comment below!