As a parent, you want to pack your child's lunch box with a variety of healthy snacks to get her through a demanding school day. Unfortunately, not every healthy snack can stay fresh and neat after several hours inside a lunch box. Preparing your child's snacks ahead of time helps ensure that the healthy food you spent time preparing won't go to waste or end up in the cafeteria garbage can.
Veggies prepared wisely stand a better chance of being eaten than simply packing several florets of raw broccoli in his lunchbox. Try baby carrots and a small container of hummus pack in fiber and vitamins without sacrificing taste. For children who love peanut butter, but whose school prohibits any nut products, try spreading a tablespoon of soy nut butter on celery sticks and sticking raisins on top.
A handful of buttery crackers isn't the most nutritious option, but a few whole wheat crackers open up a wide variety of healthful options for your child's lunch box. Pair a few whole wheat crackers with some slices of Monterey Jack cheese or pieces of sliced turkey. For older kids, who've mastered the art of spreading food on a cracker, pack a small container of mashed avocado and mild salsa along with a plastic safety knife or spoon. Or, try sliced tomatoes and a small container of chicken or tuna salad served on crackers.
Sliced fruit is an easy, healthy snack to pack in your child's lunch box -- provided you pack it correctly. Use a hard-sided plastic container for softer fruit slices to avoid smashing pieces of orange or pulverized sections of pear. If your child is old enough to peel her own fruit, pack whole oranges, apples and bananas. If, however, the extra effort of having to peel the skin is enough to make her skip the fruit altogether, slice whole oranges and apples into wedges and pack them in a zip-seal plastic bag or a plastic container.
Drink to Swallow Snacks
While you want to avoid packing applesauce or yogurt that's laden with sugar and dyes, tubes of Greek yogurt or drinkable fruit smoothies are a good way to infuse your child's lunch with fiber and nutrition without worrying about spilled contents and lost spoons. Drinkable yogurt smoothies are another option as are fruit purees in drinkable pouches. These pouched, tubed drinkable foods keep well in a lunch box and are fast and easy to eat.