Lunch Box Snacks
Loaded with protein and fiber, this trail mix has enough fuel to energize your child until dinnertime. Dried fruits and chocolate chips make it a kid favorite.
A lunch box staple, the PB&J gets reinvented as a peanut butter dessert bar frosted with jam and chopped peanuts. No crust necessary!
Don't tell your kids that hummus is really just pureed chickpeas with a kick. Instead, pack a helping with carrot sticks or pita chips and call it dip. They'll never guess they're chowing down on Mediterranean health food.
How to Choose a Lunchbox
Wake-Up Breakfast Bars
These dense, no-bake cereal bars pack a peppy punch any time of day with peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, bran flakes, and dried cranberries.
Bet your kids can't eat just one of these chips! That's OK, though, because sweet potatoes are filled with fiber and antioxidants. To make a batch, cut potatoes into thin slices (a snap when you use a mandoline), gently rub with oil, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and bake until crisp.
If you suspect that Red Delicious you always pack gets handed off to the teacher -- or tossed in the trash -- try a new approach to fulfill the old apple-a-day adage. These sweet squares taste like apple cobbler in a bar.
Sweet & Salty Crunchy Munch
Your family won't know what they did to deserve their good fortune with this kid-favorite treat, a sweet and salty hodgepodge of snack favorites. Think Chex cereal, popcorn, Goldfish crackers, and bagel chips, drizzled with a melted butter and maple syrup glaze.
While your kids catch up on the lunchroom scoop with their friends, they can load up on salsa mixed with healthful corn, diced tomatoes, and black beans. For easier dipping, buy scoop-shape corn chips.
Nutty Popcorn & Fruit Mix
Boring popcorn gets a yummy upgrade mixed with nuts, dried fruit, and potato sticks and sprinkled with grated Parmesan -- a snack just as perfect for movie night as it is a child's lunch box.
Sugar-Free Coconut-Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
Comfort food doesn't have to be junk food. These easy drop cookies are made with Splenda, shredded unsweetened coconut, pumpkin pie spice, and golden raisins for a sweet cookie that won't send your kids into sugar overdrive.
Use up extra Golden Delicious apples plucked from the orchard or the grocery store for this flavorful homemade applesauce. Just cook chopped apples with apple juice, a cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and ground cinnamon until soft, then mash into a chunky porridge.
Rainbow Chips & Dip
Turn lunch into a fiesta with these homemade tortilla chips dipped in sweet pineapple salsa. Making your own chips is easy -- just cut red pepper, spinach, or whole wheat tortillas into wedges or strips, lightly coat with cooking spray, then bake until crisp.
Bag o' Teddies
Your kids will be in for an extra treat when they discover they get to mix their bag of graham cookies or animal crackers with fruit slices and yogurt (or pudding). Don't forget to pack a spoon!
Strawberry PB Crepes
Inject a little French flair into your kids' lunch -- and no, we don't mean french fries from the cafeteria. They'll like these peanut butter-and-strawberry roll-ups cut into sushi-style slices. You might want to make extra for your lunch box, too!
Cranberry-Apricot Granola Bars
Made with low-fat granola, whole wheat flour, and dried fruit, these wholesome granola bars offer the energizing benefits of a hiker's snack without excess fat. Make a batch or two and freeze extras for up to three months.