Whether it’s for school, holiday enrichment camp or even an outing with friends, it is always a good idea to pack some extra snacks in your child’s bag (just in case).
Growing kids need the energy and nutrients that these snacks provide to get them through the day (especially the little ones). As a mom it is important that their snacks are helping to fuel their day and not actually holding them back. The last thing you want is for your little one to be hungry and lose focus.
Every day in addition to buying or packing school lunch, my boys also need to take a morning and afternoon snack to school. I try to get as creative and healthy as I possibly can, but packing snacks daily can be bit of a challenge (especially early in the morning).
Here are some tips for packing school snacks…
Get Creative. Give your child what they like to eat. Who cares if it is not your traditional snack time food.
Don’t pack snacks with “No Nutritional Value”. Snacks with little or no nutritional value should not be sent to school. These can be saved for an afterschool or weekend treat.
Easy to eat, with not too much mess. Think bite size and small portions when preparing snacks.
Try to keep it simple. Unless you have extra time, no need to stress yourself out with cut out shapes and fancy designs – the snacks just get eaten anyways. If you do want to do something quick & special, try using stickers or post-it notes with cute messages.
Get a Reusable Snack Bag/Box. Buy more than one in case it accidentally gets left at school or you are too busy to wash it.
Label The Snacks. Make sure you label the snacks with your child’s name.
Pack Low Sugar & Low Sodium Snacks. Make sure the snacks are low in sugar. The last thing you want is a sugar high and then a crash once it wears off. Additionally, prepackaged snacks are fine (and many are super healthy & easy to pack for busy moms), but just be on the look out for the amount of sodium.
Keep Utensils to a Minimum. Snack-time is usually very quick. You want to ensure your child is actually eating food and not playing with or looking for utensils.
Use an Ice-Pack. Figure out how long the snack last without the need for refrigeration and buy a reusable ice-pack if necessary. Some snack containers also come with a built in ice-pack.
Use a Thermos for Hot Foods. Normally snack-time is a quick bite and usually cold – but there are no real rules. So if the snack is meant to be hot, make sure to use a thermos or metal container. Food that is meant to be hot, just doesn’t taste the same cold.
Don’t Overpack. Be careful not to pack too many snacks, otherwise it may spoil their lunch. You know your child the best and know how many snacks they need.
Afternoon Snacks Should Not Require Refrigeration. Pack the snack separately so your kids can differentiate between the morning and afternoon snacks. Super Tip: The afternoon snack should be able to last for at least 5 hours without refrigeration or an ice-pack (so no cheese, cut fruits, yogurt, etc).
Don’t Forget to Pack A Napkin. If there is no napkin, your child will probably use their shirt to wipe their mouth (like my kids – lol).
Here is a handy list of 45+ Snack Ideas to help you out…
- Cut Veggies (dipping sauce optional)
- Fresh Fruits
- Veggie Chips
- Fruit Chips
- Cheese Sticks/Cubes
- Deli Meat
- Granola Bars
- Sandwich / Wrap – With so many varieties to choose from a sandwich can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. In case you are stuck for choices here are a few: ham, cheese, cucumber, turkey, pb&j, Tuna, egg, BLT, club, etc.
- Baked Crackers
- Breakfast Cereal Bars
- Dry (healthy) Cereal
- Nuts – Nuts are a high fiber, protein filled snack. But many schools are nut-free schools. So make sure you check before sending a bag of nuts. Also, opt for the baked and unsalted variety of nuts. Make sure to read the ingredients on the package.
- Nut & Fruit Energy Bars
- Freeze Dried Fruits – Dried fruits are a great afternoon snack option, just make sure that there is no sugar added. Still getting your serving of fruit, but no need to add an ice-pack or worry about spoilage.
- Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds
- Fruit Snacks
- Bagel w/ Cream Cheese
- Bagel Bites
- Toaster Pastry
- Sausage Roll
- Graham Crackers
- Healthy Cookies
- Dried Beans
- Trail Mix
- Mini Quiche
- Sushi / Cucumber Rolls
- Vietnamese Spring Rolls (not fried)
- Mini-Baked Samosas
- Pita Chips w/ Hummus
- Pasta Salad
- Curry Puff
- Fried Rice
- Mini-Pizza Bites
- Mini Fruit/Veggie Pancakes
- Hard Boiled Egg (Peeled)
- Sausage/Hot Dog Bites
- Rice Balls – You can use quinoa, couscous or another healthy grain to make these)
- Flavored Bread (banana, raisin, cranberry, etc.)
- Fruit/Veggie Smoothie
- Snack Mix – Make your own at home mixing a few of your kids favorites (nuts, dried fruits, crackers, popcorn, etc.
These are just a few ideas to get you started in the kitchen. Feel free to get creative and change your snacks around daily. I am sure your our kids will let you know what they like and don’t like.
If you have any snack ideas you would like to add to the list, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below.