Back to school season has always been overwhelming. You want to give the best to your little ones. While planning for their school routine, you cannot ignore their school snacks. Come 6 a.m. and you are packing some healthy and delicious food for your kids in lunch boxes along with cooking their breakfast. So we are all in the need of some ideas for healthy snacks, right?
Today I am talking about healthy snack ideas that are nutritious and delicious. For composing this list, I have considered these common denominators to make sure that your kids’ lunch is nutritious and healthy.
Factors to Consider while Choosing Kids’ Snack during Back to School Season
Oral and Dental Health
The dentists at Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Hospital suggest that the dental health of the children doesn’t merely depend upon brushing and flossing. Rather, the food the children eat plays a major role in ensuring their dental health.
Sometimes, the food that we consider healthy is not good for the teeth of the children. Children’s Dental specialties Hospital points out that foods like granola or smoothies, which are considered healthy, are not good for children’s teeth due to excessive sugar.
Likewise, the orthodontists at Delta Dental believe that tooth decay is the most chronic childhood disease in the US, and increased consumption of sugar, junk food, and carbonated drinks have increased this problem manifold. Since we know that too much sugar is bad for our little ones’ teeth, the question is how to pack a healthy lunch for our children.
Department of Health and Human Services Melbourne has issued a list of “Mix and Match snacks” for school lunch boxes to ensure the dental health of the children. The list consists of 6 categories of foods (like fruits, vegetables, dairy, etc.) which can be mixed and matched to create a healthy lunch box for children.
So when you are preparing a healthy snack for your child’s lunch box, consider the oral health of your child as of key importance.
During the back to school season, the greatest challenge for the parents is to get their child to eat a nutritious lunch. But what constitutes a nutritious snack? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that a nutritious and healthy snack should consist of the following:
- A variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Whole grains.
- Fat- free or low-fat dairy products.
CDC’s guidelines also recommend that the parents should try to limit the calories in-take through solid fats and added sugars. Alternatively, school-going children should consume more fruits and vegetables as they help in controlling weight and keeping the body healthy.
Less Time Consuming and Easy to make
The parents like every single detail of their children’s diet to be perfect. Especially during the back to school season, the parents want to secure their child’s meal. But let’s face it. We are busy and we want to prepare lunch in less time. Even if you are a stay-at-home mother, your morning is probably busy in packing 2 or 3 lunch boxes at different times.
So, time efficiency and convenience is another consideration while planning your children’s lunch boxes
In many school districts in the US, sending in a nut-free snack or lunch is the must, even though your child is allergic to the nuts or not. The important thing is to double-check the labels of everything you buy.
Involve your child in choosing his/her Lunch
Getting your child to choose their lunch is an important step to ensure that they would be enjoying their snack. However, if you let them choose completely on their own, probably they would pick up cookies and candies. The best idea is to let the child choose between pre-approved healthy foods.
Avoid Messy Food
Whether you are sending the snacks for the whole class or only for your own kid, try sending in food which does not create a lot of mess. Your child’s teacher won’t be very happy if she finds a classroom full of crumbs and the chairs lined up with sticky sauces and greasy fingers.
Consider Sending Individual Portions
If you are sending a snack for the whole class, a good idea is to send the individual portions of the food. It will make the teacher’s job easy and hassle-free.
Some Ideas for Back-to-School Snacks
Following are some ideas for back to school snacks:
- Apples and Whole-wheat Pretzels
- Vegetables like Baby Carrots and Celery sticks combined with healthy dips e.g. Hummus and Pita Chips
- Trail mixes (Avoid the ingredients which have a high quantity of sugar like chocolates or sugar)
- Bananas and whole wheat Goldfish crackers
- Yogurt (Plain or flavored) with granola bars (nut-free)
- Fruit slushies or smoothies (Avoid added sugar) with Cheese slices or cheese sticks
- Grilled bread and Baked potatoes
- Hard-boiled eggs or scrambled eggs with cucumbers
- Diced Cantaloupe and cream cheese
- Ham and Cheese.
- Salsa and Tortilla Chips
- Trader Joe’s Letter cookies (you can use any crackers but if you have Trader Joe’s nearby, try getting hold of the letter cookies) and grapes
- Strawberries or blueberries and rice crackers
I will leave you here with one final tip!
When it comes to school snacks, the more your child is involved in making decisions about his snack, the better. That way, they would learn to make better choices about their food, which in the long run would greatly benefit them.
What’s your go-to healthy snack for school?
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