In just a few short weeks, Julian will be starting school, and I’m starting to think about how I can pack some healthy lunchbox snacks that he will actually eat.
Where did the last five years go? My little man is growing up, and he is super excited about the adventures to come. If you’ve been following me for a while you will know that I’m pretty passionate about nourishing my family (as we pretty much all are right?) but I am also realistic and know that as life gets busier, I won’t always have time to be baking from scratch for hours on end anymore… so I have been on the hunt for some healthy lunchbox snacks that Julian will actually eat! And I’m so pleased to be sharing with you what I’ve found…
Healthy lunchbox snacks your kids will actually eat
To be honest with you there are plenty of healthy lunchbox snacks my kids will actually eat, but they will never make it onto my list as it doesn’t meet the needs of my family. Here are the three things are important to me when looking for recipes for healthy lunchbox snacks:
1. It needs to be healthy
“Healthy” means something different to everyone. For me, I try to ensure it doesn’t contain too much saturated fat, is low in sugar and sodium, and has a source of fibre and calcium (access more info on these nutritional levels here.)
2. It needs to be be fast and easy to make
For two reasons. Firstly – these days I am time poor. And secondly – the kids just love to get involved and help me bake, so an easy to follow recipe with simple ingredients is a must!
3. It needs to taste good!
Otherwise, it doesn’t matter if you have super nutritiously healthy lunchbox snacks – if they don’t taste good, they don’t get eaten!
Our favourite healthy lunchbox snacks
Taking all of the above into consideration, I’m pleased to share with you what our favourite healthy lunchbox snacks are, which most importantly are 100% Julian approved!
Bliss balls are fabulous for the lunchbox! They are compact, nutritious, and the best part is for most recipes, it’s just a matter of throwing all of the ingredients into your mixer and you are ready to roll (don’t mind the pun!)
Tip: There are a lot of bliss ball recipes that contain nuts. I believe most Australian schools now are nut-free, so keep this in mind when choosing a recipe. You can’t go wrong with this Cranberry, Fig and Seed make-at-home mix. Seriously… it doesn’t get any easier.
Those little yoghurt pouches from the supermarket are so convenient aren’t they? And perfect for school lunchboxes. The only trouble is… they are so darn expensive, and most varieties are high in sugar. You are looking at at least $10 per litre. Yikes.
The cheapest option is to make your own. It’s actually quite easy and most supermarkets sell the simple yoghurt makers these days. This brings the cost down to around $1.50 per litre. If you are interested in giving it a go, I highly recommend the Easiyo Red Yoghurt Maker.
If you want to sit somewhere in the middle of these options, you can opt to buy the larger tubs, and fill the smaller pouches with them. I find this costs me around $6.50 per litre for the better quality brands. My favourites youghurt brands are Jalna and Tamar Valley, and we just love the gorgeous Sinchies pouches for their cute designs and ease of use.
You can sweeten plain Greek yoghurt in many ways, some of our favourite combos are:
- Banana and strawberry
- Apple & Cinnamon (stew your apple first or buy some pureed)
- Honey & Vanilla extract
Simply pop your fruit in the blender with the yoghurt and zap it until its well combined.
Tip: By blending the yoghurt with the fruit in the blender, it makes it thinner and easier to pour into the yoghurt pouch. Make a batch and freeze them, by pulling it out of the freezer in the morning it will be defrosted by morning tea time.
Image Source: The Lunch Punch
Whilst my boys do eat their fruit whole, they often get bored of it.
What I have learnt is they do love to eat things on sticks, so fruit kebabs are a real winner and keeps it fun. You can use tooth picks or if you want added fun, these Stix are the way to go!
Museli Bars can be a quick and easy grab from the supermarket…. but unfortunately the majority of brands I have found to be extremely high in sugar. Particularly the yoghurt topped ones.
If you buy the store bought varieties the two main things to be aware of. The first is to be aware of the sugar content, and secondldy, the fact that many of them contain nuts.
I’ve found that many homemade options can be a little too time consuming but you can actually buy your own healthy make-at-home mixes which are not only healthy, tasty, but simple to make. Check out this Cacao Nib Museli Bar make-at-home mix.
Tip – throw some finely chopped dried cranberries into the Cacao Nib Museli bar mix for added yum!
Oh so simple, and all kids seem to love it! Homemade is the healthiest option of course, however there are some pretty good supermarket brands if you’d like to buy a pre-packaged option.
The Woolworths Macro Sweet & Salty Flavoured popcorn is one of our favourite healthy lunchbox snacks, for the sheer fact the kids love it and its super easy to add into their lunchbox.
Image source: Reed & Co
Muffins would have to be my boys’ favourite thing to bake. We generally like to make mini muffins, as they feel extra lucky when I give them two. They also seem to fit in lunchboxes better being a smaller size.
I also find the smaller size great for when the boys are hovering around the kitchen when it is a little too close to dinner time, but I just need a small snack to keep them going… and keep them quiet!!
You may opt for a a sweet variety like Strawberry and Banana as pictured above…
Image Source: Nourished Families
Or savoury variety such as Sweet Potato and Zucchini. I quite often make the savoury muffins full size, and use as an alternative to a sandwich for lunch.
An easy and super healthy option. On a Sunday night I like to chop up a batch of veggie sticks including carrot, celery, cucumber and capsicum. These will last a few days and I’ll then chop up a fresh batch on Wednesday/Thursday night for the rest of the week.
I find by having these pre-prepared we tend to eat more veggies, purely due to it being so convenient having them on hand.
I like to include some cubed cheese with them as well as some dip. Hommus is a great option, it is made with chickpeas which are super nutritious!
Who doesn’t love a good cookie? They make a fabulous lunchbox addition, and the kids will feel like they are getting a real treat. I am yet to find a store bought variety that isn’t overloaded with sugar or other preservatives though, so I stick to home made.
Orlando and Julian’s favourite is Oat & Carrot! Super easy with only coconut oil to be added to this mix.
Homemade Healthy LCM Bars
We used to buy the store bought variety but have since ditched it after discovering that it has over 13 ingredients, and seven are sources of sugar!!!
We now make our own with this fool proof recipe that the kids just love to make. It freezes well too!
For more information about pre-packaged snacks and how to read nutritional panels, click here.
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Rachel Cassidy is the author of this article and the founder of Little Peeps Eats. She is a passionate food blogger and brand ambassador, but her most important job is being a mum! Little Peeps Eats helps families take the stress out of mealtimes by providing healthy, kid approved recipes, as well as fussy eating tips and tricks. Their website hosts a directory of nutritionists, resources and mealtime products to ensure that you have everything you need at your fingertips when it comes to feeding your family.