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Healthy snacks and lunches for kids

Lisa is a mother of two and is currently working as a consultant and instructor at several Los Angeles Unified School District schools teaching "Kidding Around in the Kitchen" hands-on cooking classes such as "Cooks and Books," and "Food...

Snack & lunch ideas

As part of a healthy diet, your child should eat 3 main meals and 2 to 3 snacks a day. Snacks are an important part of daily food intake, especially for children. They need to be nutritious, tasty, and quick and easy to prepare. Having small, regular meals and snacks by choosing from all food groups (while watching fat intake) is a better approach than skipping meals and "binging" when hungry. The following snack ideas are suggestions for what to pack for school, or to prepare at home, between main meals.

Lunchbox with snacks

healthy School snack ideas

  • whole wheat and buttermilk pancakes (add mashed bananas and nuts to the mixture for a change)
  • fruit muffins or plain scones
  • small pita bread (thinly spread with cheese or peanut butter, then add grated carrots or sprouts and roll up to serve)
  • small handful of rice crackers or baked pretzels
  • whole wheat crackers with a slice of low fat cheese
  • rice cakes with thin scrape reduced-fat cream cheese
  • cup of popcorn (pop in the microwave), add a small amount of dried fruit for variety
  • handful of homemade pita chips (cut pita bread into triangles, sprinkle with a touch of olive oil and a little Parmesan cheese and bake 180 degrees C 15 to 20 minutes until crisp)
  • small can baked beans or creamed corn
  • celery sticks with a thin spread of peanut butter topped with raisins
  • slice of low fat cheese with a bundle of carrot and celery sticks
  • tub of low fat fruit yogurt (freeze the night before in warmer months)
  • fresh fruit, available in many varieties all year
  • 1 cup of fruit salad in a container or canned fruit snack pack (in its own juice, no sugar added), if you cannot find any fresh fruit
  • small handful of dried fruit or nuts
  • small container of assorted salads (tabouli, pasta, rice)
  • snow peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, and pitted olives in a light vinaigrette
  • homemade pizza
  • vegetarian tortilla or frittata
  • noodles with chicken and snow peas
  • meatballs and pasta with red sauce
  • low fat cheese cubes or sticks
  • steamed dim sums, still delicious cold
  • sushi rice rolls with avocado, carrot, and cucumber
  • chicken drumstick
  • chicken tamales or taquitos

Quick TipChildren eat different amounts of food according to their growth patterns. For smaller appetites pack smaller servings; cut sandwiches into quarters and chop up fruit so that there is still time to play.

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