The foods your kids eat can make a big difference in how they perform in school. Healthy snacks will give them sustained energy to help them concentrate during the day, whereas unhealthy, sugary snacks can cause a spike in blood sugar and then a slump later on. As you plan lunchbox snacks, look for tasty, balanced foods that your kids will eat.
Caramel Apple Bites
For a healthy treat that feels like a dessert, pack caramel apple bites. Slice an apple and sprinkle lemon or orange juice on the slices to keep them from going brown. In a small container, mix a few tablespoons of low-fat caramel dip with chopped nuts. Your kids can dip the apple slices into the caramel for a snack. The nutrients in the apple and the protein in the nuts make the snack healthy, and the sugar in the caramel will make your kids happy to eat it.
Make your own trail mix from the foods you have on hand to create a healthy, nutritious snack. Start with low-sugar granola or a whole-grain cereal. Mix in handfuls of the healthy snack foods you have on hand, such as dried fruit, coconut, nuts, miniature pretzels, sunflower seeds or yogurt-covered raisins. Add in a small amount of a candy that your child likes, such as miniature chocolate chips. Aim for a balance of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fruit and tailor the mix to your kids' tastes.
Instead of putting standard apples and oranges into your child's lunch box, make hybrid fruits that are quick to prepare and fun to eat. Choose fruits that your child likes and that are basically the same size, like apples, oranges, pears or peaches. Slice the fruits into pieces that are the same thickness. Create a hybrid fruit by stacking slices from two or three of the fruits and holding them together with a toothpick. Add peanut butter or other nut butter between the layers for an extra pop of protein.
Chips and Salsa
Many kids love chips and salsa. Include a healthy version in lunchboxes for a tasty snack. Choose baked tortilla or pita chips that are made with whole grains and package them in a hard plastic container to prevent crushing in your child's backpack. Include a small container of low-sugar, low-salt salsa; add in black beans and corn for extra nutritional value. For an additional treat, mix in some ranch dressing.
Veggies and Dip
Kids of all ages love dunking their veggies in dips. Choose an assortment of brightly colored veggies such as bell peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes and broccoli. For a dip, provide hummus, creamy dressing or a mixture of cream cheese and seasoning mix.
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