20 Healthy, Filling Snacks That Will Be Perfect for Lunch Boxes This Fall
As the mom of a very picky eater, I've always faced the task of packing school lunch with a certain amount of dread. Will I manage to give my kid a healthy snack and meal that won't return to me untouched at the end of the day? Maybe if your children have always chomped down on carrot sticks and kale salads you don't know this fear. But even you lucky parents of omnivores could use a little inspiration once in a while when it comes to choosing healthy snacks for kids to eat during and after school.
We have, fortunately, come a long way from the days when parents didn't think twice about stuffing high-sugar, overly processed snack cakes or bags of potato chips into their kids' lunch boxes. This is not to shame anyone for treating their kids to a bit of junk every once in a while, but we have only so many opportunities in a day to give them the nutrients they need to grow those bodies. The ideal is to feed kids tasty snacks that also just happen to be good for them, without spending a fortune. And the great news is that retailers like Walmart are on board with this plan.
A nutritionist would probably tell us that raw fruits and veggies are the best snacks for kids (and adults for that matter), but I'm pretty sure my kid could bring a nutritionist to tears. That's why I've scoured the virtual shelves of the internet for snacks that contain fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy, legumes, and whole grains, but that are also disguised for kids' palates.
Before the next school year approaches, you have a bit of time to plan ahead and try out some new healthy snack ideas. You might even make a game of this, allowing your kids to be a "test kitchen" panel of judges for the new snacks you choose—and as long as all the options are healthy, no one loses in this scenario.
Healthy Snacks With Protein
- Kind Bars Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Gluten Free Snack Bars (12-pack), $14.22; walmart.com
- Emerald Nuts Trail Mix & Dried Cranberries 100 Calorie Packs (10-pack), $4.74; walmart.com
- Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps (6-pack), $5.98; walmart.com
- Great Value Organic String Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese (6-pack), $2.84; walmart.com
- Sargento Sweet Balanced Breaks Cheddar Cheese, Roasted Almonds, Raisins, Yogurt Drops (3-Pack), $3.22; walmart.com
- Stonyfield Organic Kids Whole Milk Strawberry Banana Yogurt Cups, (6 Ct), $3.67; walmart.com
Giving kids extra protein in the form of nuts (provided they're not allergic) and cheese helps them build muscle and stay full for longer, so they won't want to snack on anything else unhealthy before dinner time. Just a warning, those Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps are going to be super tempting for you, too.
Healthy Snacks With Fruits or Veggies
- Plum Organics Strawberry, Blackberry and Blueberry Applesauce Mashups (4 ct), $2.67; walmart.com
- Off the Eaten Path Chickpea Veggie Crisps, $2.98; walmart.com
- Great Value Organic Dried Mango Strips, $3.94; walmart.com
- Great Value Freeze Dried Apple Crisps (6 ct), $4.48; walmart.com
- Sun-Maid Organic Raisins (6 ct), $3.56; walmart.com
- Stonyfield Organic Lowfat Strawberry Banana Yogurt Smoothies, $3.92; walmart.com
- Ocean's Halo Sea Salt Seaweed Snack (4 pk), $2.36; walmart.com
- Harvest Snaps Green Pea Snack Crisps, $2.98; walmart.com
One day, maybe all our kids will love vegetables and fruits. Dried fruits like mangos, apples, and raisins do have more sugar than their original form, but they're still better than processed sweets. You might also have luck with seaweed snacks, which are salty enough to pass as a type of chip but also contain vitamins A and B12.
Healthy Snacks Disguised as Treats
- Clif Kid Zbar Organic Chocolate Brownie Granola Bars (18 Ct), $11.28; walmart.com
- Annie's Organic Summer Strawberry Bunny Fruit Snacks (5 ct), $8.90; walmart.com
- Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips, $5.56; walmart.com
- Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar Cheese Puffs (6 ct), $5.98; walmart.com
- Quaker Chewy Yogurt Granola Bars, Variety Pack (14 Pack), $4.98; walmart.com
- Hippeas Organic Vegan White Cheddar Chickpea Puffs, $2.98; walmart.com