4 Tips for Packing Back to School Snacks
Let these tips simplify your snack routine, so the kids stay full and focused without a lot of extra effort.
When the kids head back to school, the lunch-packing routine gets all the attention, from roundups of the best lunch boxes and food containers to elaborate menus and tips for meals that won't end up in the cafeteria trashcan. But most kids also need food for morning or afternoon snack time in class, or for an energy boost between school and activities. Let these tips simplify your snack routine, so the kids stay full and focused without a lot of extra effort.
1. Keep it easy.
The same rules of healthy meals apply to healthy snacks: Try to incorporate fresh fruits or vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Some easy, low-prep choices include whole grain crackers with sliced cheese and grapes or apples; yogurt and berries; peanut butter on apple or banana slices; hardboiled eggs with a side of berries; trail mix; and hummus and carrots or cucumbers. And don't stress out trying to copy those Instagram-worthy snacks your friends are posting: Prepackaged snack bags, fruit cups, applesauce pouches, squeeze yogurts, cheese sticks, and boxes of raisins will taste exactly the same as the more elaborately presented versions.
2. Think small.
If you want to make snack time a little more fun, get creative with recipes for individual snacks. Roll whole grain cereal with yogurt and dried fruit for mini snack bites, make your own five ingredient granola bars prepare a batch of whole wheat mini muffins, or roll up fruit and cream cheese on whole wheat tortillas.
3. Plan ahead.
If getting out the door in the morning is already stressful enough, prepare a snack plan ahead of time. Choose one snack for the week and do as much prep as you can in advance: Portion out big bags of popcorn or crackers into smaller containers, slice fruit and rinse berries, make two batches of muffins (so you can freeze the extras for next month), or make your own trail mix. Invest in enough snack size containers so you can portion out a week's worth on Sunday.
4. Involve the kids.
They're the ones eating the snacks, so getting the kids on board with choosing and preparing their favorite foods will make the whole process go more smoothly. Have them pick their snack for the week, help divide foods into individual servings, and assist with baking or mixing any homemade treats. Another option: Set up a snack station with several healthy options -- bags of popcorn, pretzels, or nuts; fruit cups, whole or dried fruit, and applesauce; cheese sticks or yogurt in the refrigerator -- and have the kids choose two items the night before.