Top Tips for Lunchbox Snacks

In this addendum to my post on how to build a more healthful sandwich, here are some fresh ideas to help your little one stave off hunger until the lunch bell rings.

Hearty grains. Healthy treats like these double blueberry muffins, little scones, whole wheat pancakes, and low sugar granola bars are all good snack choices. Good to the Grain is an excellent resource for whole grain baking, and many of the items can be made smaller for more modest appetites. Consider pairing grains with protein sources, like hummus with pita triangles or almond butter with mini bagels.

Dairy. Cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheese sticks are perennial favorites, and most come in small packages easy to toss in a lunchbox. But if you're concerned about going green, and who isn't?, buy larger containers and portion them out at home. Do be aware that many prepared yogurts are very high in sweeteners. Consider cutting your child's favorite variety with an equal amount of plain yogurt, and stirring well. Natural, unsweetened applesauce also makes a delicious add-in when mixed with plain yogurt.

Fruit. Though oranges, grapes, and bananas may first come to mind, don't forget pineapple, melon chunks, kiwi, mango or papaya. Come fall, you'll have your pick of colorful pears (try pretty red Bartletts, crunchy Boscs, or crisp Asian pears), apples (alternate between Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Fuji), and even persimmons. Keep in mind that dried fruits pack a powerful nutritional punch, too. In fact, dried apricots pack more fiber, potassium, and iron per ounce than fresh ones.

Need a healthy snack for yourself? Here are my top snack picks for grown-ups.

Like this? Read these!
- School Lunches, Beyond PB&J

- After-School Snacks Kids Can Make
- How to Pack a Healthful Lunch


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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