Packing your child’s lunchbox in the morning can be stressful, especially if, like me, you’re packing five! It can seem easy to throw in some cookies and a pb&j, rather than take the time to cut up fresh fruit and vegetables. While I always try to put fresh produce in their lunch boxes, I also find myself reaching for packaged snacks that are a great alternative to classic cookies and chips. Here are some of my favorite healthy snack ideas to throw in my kids’ lunch boxes that are healthy and tasty.
1. Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans
I was a bit intimidated by these at first, given that I could not imagine my kids enjoying roasted beans of any type. But after trying Enlightened’s recipe for broad beans, I found that they’re actually delicious, crunchy and salty – and the kiddos love them! They’re super easy to throw in a lunchbox and are a much healthier alternative to potato chips. These roasted beans are packed with fiber and healthy fats, as well as protein, so they keep my kids full after lunch. My kids also love to snack on them on the way to sports practices, in the car, anywhere. I definitely plan to make these a fixture in my pantry for this school year. You can buy Enlightened roasted broad beans here.
2. Simply7 Lentil Chips
Yes, another bean-based snack! What can I say, beans and lentils are a great alternative to chips and crackers. Simply 7 lentil chips are a delicious, gluten-free snack that are thin and crispy just like potato chips. My kids love them, because they’re salty and airy and “don’t taste healthy,” which can be a common complaint with chip alternatives. Lentil Chips are also a great snack for school because they don’t have traces of peanuts, which are often banned in school cafeterias due to the high volume of allergies. Protein and iron, as well as 40% less fat than potato chips make lentil chips a healthy alternative for a snack. My favorite part? They are made of only five ingredients, so I know exactly what my kids are eating, a rarity in the packaged snack industry. You can buy these lentil chips here.
3. Simply7 Quinoa Chips
I keep coming back to Simply 7, because they simply (; make the best snacks ever! They’re crunchy and salty like the lentil chips, but have a different heartiness for older kids. The natural protein and amino acid-packed chips help kids stay full during the school day. These are soy and nut free like the lentil chips, and have a lot of the same benefits. I like to switch between the two when my kids want something crunchy and salty to snack on. You can find these quinoa chips here.
4. Boom Chicka Pop
My family have been fans of Boom Chicka Pop for years, partially due to the wide variety of flavors they offer. We also love it because of the low calorie count and minimal ingredients. My boys love the sea salt & vinegar flavor, because it tastes like their favorite chips. Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks for kids, but you have to check the ingredients, because some recipes have hidden sodium and fat in the seasoning or butter. It’s super easy to throw some of this popcorn into a bag or Tupperware in your kid’s lunch box, so I suggest giving it a try! You can find Boom Chicka Pop popcorn here.
5. The Chia Co. Chia Pod
The Chia Co. snacks are more yogurt-like than the aforementioned chip snacks. These pods are so delicious, my kids eat them up in a few bites. They are made from chia seeds, coconut milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon, with no preservatives or ingredients you don’t recognize. The consistency was unusual at first, kind of like pudding or yogurt. It’s sweet and rich, loaded with protein and fiber, as well as healthy fats from the chia. Chia seeds have loads of health benefits, which you can read about here. I like to incorporate them into my kids diets in smoothies, salads, and even in their snacks such as these pods. Chia Pods are sold in most grocery stores, but my favorite are made by The Chia Co, which you can browse here.