Fall is right around the corner, and that means it’s back to school for children, teens, and young adults across the country. Eben started almost two weeks ago! For parents, that means it’s time to handle getting lunches packed, balanced breakfasts on the table, and sleepyheads out of bed!
I always get a wonderful nostalgic feeling from the end of summer, back-to-school time. It always reinvigorates me, and makes me excited to try new things and make changes in my life, even though my own schooldays are long past. I think part of this has definitely been from raising my wonderful son, Eben. Watching him go through the process of starting a new grade each year has been so rewarding and inspiring. I always want to support him and his efforts at school, and part of that means making sure he’s well fed and properly fueled so his brain can do all that learning each day.
One of the things I like to try and do each year is come up with new types of healthy snacks to pack in his lunch bag. Kids always seem drawn to any kind of single-serving snacks, and fun foods—just think about those awful packaged varieties that your kids have probably begged you to buy while shopping. Packing the same things all the time gets boring, and doesn’t offer much variety in terms of vitamins and minerals, which only eating a broad diet can do. Now that Eben is a sophomore in high school, he needs more fuel throughout the day, so I pack him a variety of snacks. If you’re stumped for new ideas when packing lunches, here are some of Eben’s favorites, which I’m sure your kids will love, too:
- Fruit Skewers: Use whatever fruits you have on hand (melons, apples, clementines, grapes, etc.) and stick bite-sized chunks onto wooden skewers, or reusable plastic or metal skewers if you want to be extra eco-conscious. These colorful snacks are fun to eat and easy to share with friends at school!
- Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter & Pretzels: These fun, dippable snacks make eating healthy nut butter a breeze. Eben loves these so much he had already gone through the package of them before school started! Like a healthier version of Nutella, these snacks feel like an indulgence, but they’re made from high quality, all-natural ingredients, with a focus on sustainability. Definitely a winner!
- Fruit and Vegetable Chips: Whether you choose to make these in the oven, dehydrator, or buy them from your local health food store (such a variety is available these days!), fruit or vegetable chips are a great way of making healthy eating fun and delicious for kids. The possibilities are endless: apples, sweet potatoes, kale, zucchini, eggplant, all with any combination of flavored salts, herbs, and spices.
- Stonyfield Organics YoKids Squeezers: This squeezable yogurt is both healthy and tasty. Eben loves the Cherry and Berry flavor pack, and they never come home uneaten when I pack them in his lunch! As with all of the Stonyfield products, they are organic certified by the USDA and made with pasture raised milk.
- Nuts and Seeds: I buy organic nuts and seeds in bulk at Costco and pack them in Eben’s lunch every day. They are the perfect snack to grab right before a big test or for an after lunch pick me up!
- Homemade Granola Bars: Unlike their store bought counterparts, when you make granola bars at home, you don’t need to add any processed sugars, and can control exactly what goes into them. There are endless healthy granola bar recipes online, and I guarantee at least one of them can be made with whatever you have in your cupboards right now!
One of the products that has really changed the way I pack school lunches is actually a bag. The PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag is so clever in its design. You never have to hunt in your freezer for an ice pack, or worry about one bursting and leaking all over your child’s lunch again! This bag can go directly into the freezer each night after being emptied and wiped down, and is ready to go in the morning.
I never have to worry about packing perishables in a school lunch because I know the fantastic insulation on this bag will keep things cold all morning and well into the afternoon! Plus I love that they’re made with durable materials and are still very affordable. Definitely the best lunch bags out there. My family has been using them for years now, and we all love them.
What about you? Do you have any favorite back-to-school snack ideas that your kids devour? Or any packing secrets or life-changing products you can’t do without? I’d love to hear about them—the more inspiration, the better!
This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are always my own.