By Brandi Koskie - DietsInReview.com
It's almost impossible to believe that in a few short weeks the kiddos will be headed out the door for school. Backpacks, tennis shoes, and sharp #2 pencils are always obvious must-have back-to-school items, but we often overlook lunch. What they're eating at school during the day can be one of their most important supplies, because it's that food that fuels them to read, write, count, and play.
Instead of fighting one another on what to put in their lunch boxes, meet in the middle with some snacks and treats that are good enough for everyone to feel good about. We've found a few snacks worthy of being called mom- and kid-approved!
Baby Carrots. Not just any baby carrots though, cool baby carrots! That's what the baby carrot industry is trying to make consumers feel about their healthy food. Their neon orange color is natural and full of vitamins, while the neon orange cheese doodles your kids might be used to are nutritionally void. Last fall their Scarrots campaign was wildly popular, and this year, many markets will be stocked with these baby carrots disguised as junk food. With more than a day's worth of vitamin A and only 35 calories per three-ounce serving, maybe you should sneak some in your lunch, too!
Wholly Guacamole. Perfect for dipping those carrots, spreading on a sandwich in place of mayo, or even going old school and eating with chips, the 100-calorie single-serve packs of Wholly Guacamole are a perfect lunch box addition. This brand is one of the few pre-made guacs that actually has Haas avocados, rather than some man-made green paste. With more potassium than a banana, and an ideal source of monounsaturated fats, your kiddo will be well fueled.
Fresh Fruit. We aren't talking about tossing a boring old red apple in their bag. If you have some fun with it, so will the kids. Freeze grapes and then put the baggy in the lunch box - this will keep other foods cold and the grapes will be crisp and cool by lunch. Use cookie cutters to make thick slices of pineapple, cantaloupe, or watermelon look like stars, hearts, or flowers. Or mix up several of their favorite fresh fruits with a drizzle of honey for a simple fruit salad.
Trail Mix and Granola. When kids are invested in the foods they eat, they're more likely to eat them. Help them whip up a simple batch of this homemade granola or this homemade trail mix and then include a container with their made-from-scratch creation in their lunches. Let them choose which dried fruits they'd like to include, which nuts, and even whether they'd like semi-sweet or dark chocolate chunks!
Annie's Fruit Snacks. Kids love this classic treat and you'll love that it's organic with a clean ingredient list. No high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or other unknown chemicals, these are made with cane syrup, natural flavors, colors, and free of gelatin. Annie's are also gluten free and provide 100% of their daily vitamin C needs.
Honest Kids Juice Pouches. A reusable bottle of water or a carton of milk from the cafeteria is best, but if your kids aren't going to budge on the juice debate, toss in a pouch from Honest Kids. These fun juice blends contain no HFCS, are low in sugar, and come in five crowd-pleasing flavors like Goodness Grapeness and Appley Ever After. Just like the grapes, freeze them and the pouch will act as an ice pack and be nice and cold for lunch.
Learn more about kicking off the new school year with DietsInReview.com:
8 Lunch Box Meals That Aren't Sandwiches
The Worst School Cafeteria Foods
Easy Back to School Breakfast Options
By Brandi Koskie - DietsInReview.com