Photo of sunflower seed kernels taken by Jenny Favret
Many school children have a designated “snack time” and this can be a good thing! For example some kids don’t feel like eating right away in the morning, so they skip breakfast. A mid-morning snack provides a good opportunity to fuel the body instead of having to wait until lunch to eat. For kids whose “lunch” is VERY early (like 10:15 AM!) an afternoon snack is probably needed.
The ideal snack provides protein and/or healthy fats, which help to satisfy hunger. Fiber is also a key player, so any carbohydrate based snacks should come with a healthy dose of the stuff. Treats such as veggie chips, pretzels, cereal bars and packaged cakes do NOTHING to zap hunger. Many kids are simply left wanting more!
It can be tricky to figure out what to send for snack at school. Some things to consider:
Certain foods must be kept cold.
Many classrooms are nut - free.
The snack should be somewhat “healthy-ish”.
The cost of sending snack can add up: finding less expensive options can be important.
10 School Snack Ideas to Try:
Sunflower seed kernels
Trail mix (find one that is MOSTLY nuts and seeds with only a FEW pieces of dried fruit, chocolate or cereal…..or make your own!)
String cheese (just be sure to include a reusable freezer ice pack if your child’s snack time is not until later in the day).
Small container of black or green olives……no protein, but a good source of healthy fats!
Granola bars, IF they contain at least 10 grams of protein and 7 grams or LESS of sugar.
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Raw carrots or celery with humus (the individually packaged containers of humus do NOT need to be kept cold, but otherwise an ice pack will be needed).
Roasted chick peas: 1- Simply drain a can of garbanzo beans. 2- Pat them dry. 3-Place on cookie sheet and toss with olive oil and salt. 4- Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5- ENJOY!!
Beef jerky or turkey jerky
Apple slices, celery sticks or a few whole grain crackers with peanut butter (or with sunflower seed butter if peanut butter is not allowed in your child’s school)
Food for thought……….
When everyone around them is eating snack, it can be really hard to resist that pack of chips or flavored fish crackers!! Hungry or not, many kids can’t resist treat items like these.
Let your child know that they do NOT have to eat snack just because it is “snack time”. Instead of packing a treat item for your child’s snack, consider placing a small portion of sunflower or pumpkin seed kernels in the book bag so that there will always be an option when needed. If not…..the seeds will be there on another day when maybe your child IS hungry.