Ah picky eaters, otherwise known as, your kids! At times it is hard enough to get them to eat in general, but to get them to eat something healthy, especially at school when you are not around? Impossible. There are, however, many options your kids can love; from applesauce to cheese sticks. As school rounds the corner, we couldn’t help but give you a hand and search for the best healthy lunch snacks for kids. Store-bought or homemade, we have included them all. We have included easy grab-and-go options for those crazy mornings, and also some DIY ideas.
Picky or not, kids are more likely to try healthy food options than ever before. A new study finds 69 percent of parents say they want their kids to eat more plant-based foods. Surprisingly, even more parents (72%) say their children are a lot more open-minded when it comes to trying new foods than they were at the same age. Researchers reveal 85 percent of parents want to provide better snack options for their children than they had as kids. The push for parents to offer healthy snacks may stem from the simple fact that 76 percent of adults feel they snacked on way too much junk food as kids. The good news is three in four parents have found success as grown-ups; saying their kids have a much healthier diet than they did. Parents are also fulfilling their kids’ dining desires by choosing snacks they already know their kids will like. Unfortunately, two in five respondents say they simply don’t have the time to provide healthy snacks for their kids.
If your child is the complete opposite and you are still struggling with getting them to eat healthy, we have a tip. Throw on the Food Network. Now, a fascinating new study has identified a way for television’s influence over children to be used positively. Kids who watched a child-oriented cooking show that featured healthy, nutritious food were 2.7 times more likely to eat healthy food themselves in comparison to children who had watched a cooking program featuring unhealthy food. The children in the survey who had been shown the healthy foods clip were much more likely to choose a healthy snack (an apple or cucumber slices) over one of the unhealthier snack options (potato chips, salted mini-pretzels). Score!
Whether your child is a picky eater or eats you out of house and home, there are many healthy snack options to send to school. StudyFinds did the work for you, searching the internet for expert reviews on the best healthy lunch snacks for kids. This list includes the top recommended food, but of course, if you have a favorite we missed, let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Healthy Snacks for Kids, According to Parents
The whole-grain outer layer of these fig bars isn’t dry like other brands. “These fig bars are packed with fiber and healthy whole grains. Your kids are sure to love the texture of the fruity filling, bursting with blueberry or raspberry,” states Today’s Parent.
If you have ever tasted Fig Newtons, these are a nostalgic reminder. They are very convenient for school snacks or even as a car snack. “These Whole Wheat Fig Bars are a favorite in our family! They’re filling, delicious, and great as a healthy school snack. We love them and always keep them in stock!” says Jar of Lemons.
Not only are these fig bars affordable, but they have a good balance of fruit and grains. “These whole wheat fig bars are a good source of fiber and a soft and safe snack choice when on the go with babies and toddlers!” informs Abbey’s Kitchen.
These bars are made with 100 percent whole grains and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. They contain more added sugars than other grain bars but are a more budget-friendly option. “KIND bars are some of my favorite granola bars to recommend for kids. They have some great low-sugar options, but some also have large pieces of nuts that can be hard for younger children to eat. But they also have some options that are more grain-based and chewy options that are easier for kids – as recommended above. They also have some great gluten-free options if that’s something you need,” states The Lean Green Machine.
Incorporating oats into your child’s diet is a great addition and a nutrition powerhouse. “KIND’s gluten-free bars contain some super whole grains, including oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. If your kid is active, this will give them enough energy to power through playtime or after-school sports,” says Today’s Parent.
KIND Grain Bars have 25 percent less sugar than the leading kids’ granola bar and a chewy, but not too chewy. “With great texture, these new granola bars are a great option for kids. They come in three flavors—Honey Oat, Chocolate Chip, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip—and are frankly, totally delicious,” explains Yummy Toddler.
Triscuits are so delicious that you and your kids can enjoy them on a charcuterie board or alone. “Kids love these crispy crackers because they’re delicious; parents can love ’em because they’re nutritious—low in salt and high in whole grains,” shares Today’s Parent.
There are many versions of Triscuits. A healthy choice for your little one could be the Hint of Salt Triscuits. “This classic cracker is lower in sodium than the original and they contain just a handful of very straightforward ingredients. Plus, they taste so good! These are best for kids over two or two and a half as they are a little too crunchy for one-year-olds,” says Yummy Toddler.
If you want to pack a cute little snack combo for your child, you can throw some pieces of cheese or cut-up ham in the baggy. “This is my personal favorite. They are made with 100% whole grains and just three ingredients. Plus, it’s less expensive compared to the other better-for-you crackers. For younger toddlers, the Thin Crisps may be a better option,” explains Jar of Lemons.
4. DIY Fruit Kabobs
Purchase small bamboo or plastic skewers, and search your refrigerator for colorful, nutritious items you already have on hand. “Sometimes just piercing fresh berries, bananas, or grapes on a skewer makes a classic snack more exciting for kids. You could also add some cheese squares to the fruit kabobs too!” explains Weelicious.
There is such variety here. Foods like cucumbers, whole wheat bread, and cheeses can be sliced or portioned using a mini cookie cutter. “Creating mini kebabs using fruits, veggies, cheeses, proteins, and more is a unique, fun snack idea offering a creative avenue to providing your kids with the protein, fiber, and antioxidants they need each day in their school lunches,” says Eat This, Not That.
For a healthy lunch snack for kids, fruit is always a great choice. It’s guaranteed to be devoured. “You can use pretty much any fruit you want for these kabobs, but I prefer to use firmer types of fruits and berries. They withstand impaling much better and don’t wilt as easily if they’re sitting out for any amount of time. Melons, firm berries like blueberries and strawberries, and grapes work wonderfully! Apples can be a little difficult to skewer, and bananas are too mushy,” offers Intoxicated on Life.
5. DIY Trail Mix
If your child doesn’t have a peanut allergy, nuts, and seeds are a great plant-based protein source, which helps to grow strong cells and maintain most bodily functions. “Create a custom trail mix with nuts, dried fruits, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips or dye-free chocolate-coated candies for a scrumptious and energizing snack,” offers Weelicious.
Trail mixes are the best. Why not sprinkle some dark chocolate or coconut chips into the mix for good measure? “Trail mixes can be made at home by simply mixing up a few dry ingredients that you can find in your pantry. Combine pretzels, whole grain cereals, granola, and mini-crackers with dried fruits like cranberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango, and raisins. Even yogurt-covered pretzels or raisins can be used to sweeten up your homemade trail mix,” says Eat This, Not That.
Trail mixes are easy to make and store well in a sealed container. You can even combine ingredients like low-fat granola, whole-grain cereals, peanuts, and dried fruits into a homemade trail mix bar. “Keep in mind that there is a small but growing number of kids who have severe peanut and/or tree nut allergies. Before bringing in peanuts, trail mix, or other nuts as a snack, check to make sure none of the children has an allergy,” shares cspinet.com.
You might also be interested in:
- Best Gluten-Free Snacks
- Easiest Recipes to Bake with Kids
- Best Foods for Fiber
- Best Food for Protein
- Today’s Parent
- Yummy Toddler
- MJ and Hungry Man
- Eat This, Not That
- Abbey’s Kitchen
- Intoxicated on Life
- The Lean Green Machine
- Food Network
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.