With back to school starting or started I’ve been thinking about (and fearing) the one thing about school that I dread. No it’s not being room mom, or class parties, homework, rushed mornings or making lunches. No, the thing that put dread in my heart? Being snack mom.
What happened to the good old days when snack was called “fruit break” and everyone brought their own piece of fruit and all the mothers were happy and stress free? I know have two pages of approved snacks, right down to the brands. Which I get because of children’s allergies. What I don’t get is the fear that fruit or healthy snacks would be too hard and that pre-packged and over processed food is safer for allergies. With a little prep, and usually for the same amount of money you (we) can provide healthy and fun snacks for our kids.
Our top 7 healthy snacks –
- Yogurt and Graham Crackers or Sticks. This is my daughters favorite to bring in. Two of the large containers of yogurt and two boxes of crackers are more than enough for a class. I always provide bowl as well so the teachers don’t have to scramble. It takes no more time than a box of goldfish and is more nutritious.
- Crackers and Cheese slices. You can buy cheese pre-sliced or cubed but to save money (with the school’s permission) I usually buy a block and chop it up myself. Kids usually love making their own “lunch-ables”. I usually get Back to Nature’s Classic Rounds which are a favorite in our house and have no HFCS or hydrogenated oils. Another option my kids love is cheese sticks.
- Apple Slices. Every fall I try to get an extra peck at our favorite orchard so I can bring apples slices in for the class. Sometimes I provide yogurt or caramel dipping sauce but they have been popular plain as well. I have an apple slicer and will chop them all up at home and toss with a little lemon juice so they don’t turn brown.
- Melon. In the spring and early fall my kids love to bring Melon for snack. In fact my son who has a spring birthday has on more than one occasion brought in watermelon slices for his birthday treat over cake!
- Bananas. Kids love bananas and they are probably one of, if not the cheapest, fruit to buy in bulk. One time I sliced up the bananas and mixed them with sliced strawberries and I was literally being followed down the hall by bouncing kids wanting to have some early. It was probably the most popular of all the snacks we have ever brought.
- Clementines. Around Halloween I like to buy the large cases of clementines, my kids call them tiny oranges, and draw jack-o-lantern faces on them with a marker. It’s a fun holiday snack that is a lot healthier than candy.
- Veggies. During my snack week at preschool I planned a veggie day, despite my own daughters objections I brought in baby carrots, sliced green pepper, celery, and cucumber and provided some ranch dip (I would have done hummus too but there was an allergy). One of the moms snorted as I wrote it on the board that no one would eat it. All that came home was a few pieces of celery…give kids the chance and they will try it, even if they don’t eat it at home.
I have personally brought all of these to school for snack and I can tell you most kids are so tired of goldfish and pretzels that they are excited to see, try and eat fruit and veggies. If you shop sales and use coupons the cost for healthy snacks is about the same as picking up a box of prepackaged snacks.
For my snack week (to feed 20 kids) for 5 days I did:
– Yogurt with Graham crackers
– Crackers and Cheese
– Apple Slices with dip
– 2 kinds of melon
– mini oranges and grahams (they ended up not needing the grahams and saved them for another day)
I spent about 22 dollars, or about $4.50 a day (not counting the juice I provided), a large container of Goldfish is usually $6.99. So you may be saving time but you aren’t saving money, so why not try something new?
I also have sent all of these in my kids lunch box, as a bonus here are 5 of our favorite lunch box snacks:
1. GoGo squeeze apple sauce
2. Plum Kids Shredz – fruit and veggie squeezers
3. Dried fruit- particularly mango and apple slices
4. Homemade mini blueberry muffins
5. Fruit leather (on occasion as it’s not great for their teeth!)
What are your favorite healthy snacks?