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6 Lunch Box #Snacks that the Kids will <3 #lunchbox

lunch box - fruit and cheese snacksOne of the things I see parents struggle with around this time of year is picking  snacks that are as quick to pack as they are nourishing to eat. Something that’s really important when it comes to keeping our little Einsteins fuelled and alert throughout the day.

 

So here’s a list of some of my favourite lunch box snacks:

  1. fruit

    fresh fruit is nature’s original snack as it’s perfectly packaged to travel, especially fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, plums, pears, oranges, grapes… you get the idea :) But if you or your kids want to slice and dip, lunch box snacks - trailmixthen nut butters (know your school’s policy on these) and cheeses (cottage or cream) are great sides as well. Dried (like raisins, figs, dates, apricots) and canned fruit (packed in 100% juice) are also good snacking choices.

  2. nuts

    roasted and lightly seasoned or as butters nuts (and seeds) are a snack with staying power. Make your own trail mix by adding dried fruit and cereal, or use the butters as a dip with fresh fruit/veggies (apples, bananas, celery) or whole grain crackers/bread.

  3. lunch box snacks - yogurt

    dairy

    yogurt, cheese, milk, laban…. many of these can be found in individual serving sizes and are an excellent way to ensure your little one is building healthy bones and teeth plus much more.  By the way I am a very strong advocate of whole organic homogenized dairy products when possible… unless it’s cheese/cream than low fat is OK :)

  4. whole grains

    lunch box snacks - annies cheddar bunniesas crackers (Annie’s and Goldfish are good choices), or granola (like Jordan’s and Kind), in cereal bars (Quacker’s Chewy bars aren’t bad) or even in the form of bread for sandwiches – remember snacks can also simply be smaller sized meals (e.g. a sandwich made with one slice of bread as opposed to two) or things like dosa, idli, sushi…

  5. lunch box snacks - snappea crisps

    vegetables

    carrots, celery, broccoli on their own or with dips are surprisingly a big hit with kids, and don’t forget dehydrated/freeze dried veggies like snappea crisps… you can also make them at home or buy them in bulk from any organic grocery store like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Fresh Market :)

  6. legumes

    lunch box - saffron road chrunchy chickpea snacksthis is just a fancy word for beans… and while they may not seem like something kids would reach for, don’t underestimate the tastiness of this  group of protein packed foods. For example, chickpeas can be eaten as hummus or roasted and seasoned to a delicious crispiness and what about edamame,  or another variation – soy nuts, lentil or bean chips…mmmm

lunch box snacks - celery-and-peanut-butterAnd combining these 6 items (as I’ve tried to do for you) will give you endless snack options: dried fruit, nuts and/or  cereals= trail mix, milk goes great with fruit or cereal, as does yogurt and cheese which also goes great with veggies…

The best part is as great as these are for your kids’ lunch boxes they are just as great for your work lunch box too!

How to Get Your Kids on Board with Healthy Lunches

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s that time of year again – when the kids are back in school and the routine also includes packing healthy lunches, which by the way can be a major challenge what with the usual time constraints that are now compounded by the tug-of-war on what should get packed!

Considering the fact that childhood obesity is a major concern of our times, and eating healthy really is a habit that should be developed at a young age, I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about how to win the healthy lunch battle with your kids (or maybe not win as much as come to a good compromise).

Although I don’t have kids of my own, I do remember being one of the few kids of our generation to get a healthy lunch growing up – mom, being an early childhood educator, always insisted that we take one item from each food group and NO we could NOT have chocolate milk (actually this is an acceptable and healthy option) and yes we had to eat warm cucumber sticks – yuck!

As much as I hated it at the time, not to mention rebelled against it when I finally got into university and could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I do still thank her for instilling a love for vegetables (that for the longest time I never even knew I had) that I have slowly come back to over the years. But I know, times are changing and kids of our generation are much more independent than we were at their age. I see this with my niece and nephew who are just getting into their teens now and who, when they were little ate everything, but are now the most picky eaters in the world – Sulmaan won’t even look at anything that has tomatoes…

So how do you get your kids, possibly super picky eaters who also want to assert their independence, to take a healthy lunch with them to school? The best way to do this is to get them involved in packing their own lunches. But it’s not that simple – because we all know a lunch packed by your kids would be nothing more than potato chips and a chocolate bar. The fine-print here is you offer them a choice from 2 healthy options like an apple or a pineapple cup; a turkey sandwich or spaghetti; and a Gogurt or a 100% juice Caprisun… you get the idea right? Letting your kids decide whether they prefer a hot lunch like Sabrina (who is overly pleased with Dim Sum and edamame) or a cold sandwich like Sulmaan (he’ll have 2 slices of turkey and cheese most days) allows them to assert their independence while still staying healthy. To get some great lunch ideas check out some of these tips offered by Dietitians of Canada.

But to make it a little easier on your self – keep in mind that:

  1. you don’t need to re-invent the wheel – it is a very good idea to make extra portions at dinner time so both you and the kids’ main meal is taken care of for the next day.
  2. you’re kids healthy snacks are also perfect snacks for the adults in the family!
  3. planning a menu on the weekend will also make shopping a snap and save you time during the week.
  4. you don’t need to feel guilty – getting the kids to pack their own lunches (and yours) teaches them to be responsible and learn what it means to be a part of a family.