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Sunday, May 12, 2013

7 Healthy Lunch Snacks Your Child Will Actually Eat

Finding a healthy snack to put in your child’s lunch bag can be a challenge. After all, it is very easy to just throw in a bag of potato chips, a candy bar, or a lollipop and most children will be perfectly happy with that. But these days, parents are more health conscious and want to try other alternatives.

While nuts are healthy and tasty, these are problematic in school settings because someone usually has a significant peanut or tree nut allergy.

This topic was mentioned last night on the MedFriendly Facebook page where one person suggested raisins and banana chips. Raisins are a good choice but they need to be packed properly so they do not dry out. Some also come in very small boxes that will still leave the child hungry. Also, in my opinion, yellow raisins are much tastier than black raisins, yet I never see them in the small boxes. One could always put them in a baggy though with a twist. Banana chips are definitely tasty and they are made from fruit but they contain a high level of saturated fat.  This is typically due to coconut oil. This can be bad if the oil is partially hydrogenated but good if it is extra virgin coconut oil (non-hydrogenated). The problem is that most labels don’t tell you which type of oil was used.           

Some websites which have discussed this topic give choices that are clearly very healthy such as bean dip and broccoli bites, but… seriously, how many 3rd graders really wants to eat bean dip or broccoli bites? Not many. Some suggest making homemade snacks as opposed to relaying on manufactured brands. But most parents don’t have time to make home made products such as fresh granola and are looking for something quick and easy. Some sites suggest making kabobs out of fresh fruit but that runs the risk of children hurting someone with the left over skewer sticks.

After doing some thinking and reading, I’ve listed my top 7 quick and easy choices for healthy lunch snacks that most children will actually eat. If you have others feel free to post them in the comment section.     

1. OCEAN SPRAY CRAISINS: Dovetailing off the raisin suggestion above, Craisins are a delicious healthy snack most kids will eat. They common in many different fruity flavors and have a candy like sweet taste while remaining healthy. Simply place in a small plastic bag and close with a twist tie.

2. ALL NATURAL FRUIT SNACKS:
Most kids love gummies and related fruit snacks. The hard part is finding ones with all natural ingredients. All natural fruit snacks are usually found in warehouse club stores or online here.     

3. VEGGIE CHIPS:
Many children will actually enjoy veggie chips by having them focus more on the color than the taste. They are very tasty and this is coming from someone who does not usually like many vegetables.    

4. APPLE SAUCE: An oldie but a goodie. With so many options and flavors (e.g., pear apple sauce), most children will find an applesauce they like. The tricky part can be finding all natural applesauce but it  is out there. A recent twist is making it in a squeezable pouch form.

5. MEAT JERKY:
All natural and organic beef jerky is a tasty treat for kids who want something besides fruit and veggies. If you don’t want to give them red meat, try the turkey jerky version.

6. CLIF BARS:  These are organic energy/protein bars, available in numerous flavors.

7. KASHI PRODUCTS:
Available in most stores, Kashi sells a variety of healthy but tasty food products, including cookies and brownies that most children will enjoy. The company even makes various snack chips.

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