Snacks make up an important part of a child’s food intake over the day. Most children need 3 main meals and 1-3 snacks a day depending on how hungry and active they are and if they are going through a growth spurt.
Snacks should provide the nutrients they need to learn, play and grow, however it can be challenging to prepare ones that are quick, easy and good for them. You might be relying on prepacked snacks from the supermarket as they are heavily promoted as making life easy and may even have claims such as ’good for the lunch box’ to entice you to buy.
A recent online survey we held found that 70% of people who responded, purchased pre-packaged snacks from supermarkets because it saved them time, were easy to pack in the lunch box or because their kids pestered them.
You might be surprised that most of those supermarket snacks are very low in nutrients and high in salt, fat and sugar. We looked at 140 prepacked snacks from supermarkets and considered only 20% or 1 in 5 as healthy.
We rated 4 out of 5 packaged lunch box snacks as unhealthy*
Our top 10 suggestions for fast, easy and yummy snacks for the lunch box or after school.
These are full of nutrients kids need to power their brains and fuel their muscles throughout the day.
1. A handful of nuts – any sort, unsalted. They are filling and full of fibre and healthy fats. Check your school’s policy on nuts before putting in the lunch box.
2. Wholegrain crackers, crispbread or rice cakes with dip, cheese or avocado and tomato
3. Celery boats with cream cheese and sultanas
4. Mediterranean vegie pita – fill with dip and vegies. For more bread inspiration see our blog on toast and toasties
5. Plain yoghurt – with fruit, muesli or both as in our banana split pot
6. Home-made popcorn or try our Poppletana
7. Smoothies can be ready in minutes. Use fruit, vegies, yoghurt, milk or milk alternatives or try our berrylicious one.
8. Pizza muffins – get creative and pop under the grill, ready in no time
9. Fruit muffins or fruit bread with cream cheese or ricotta
10. Breakfast as a snack – try low sugar breakfast cereal like wholegrain wheat biscuits with milk and chopped fruit
Have these handy staples in the pantry and fridge
- Bread, wraps, pita or English muffins, preferable wholemeal
- Rice cakes , wholegrain crispbread and crackers
- Yoghurt, preferably natural
- Vegies – carrot, celery, cucumber
- Tins of beans like chickpeas and baked beans
- Tins of tuna in spring water or olive oil
- Unsalted nuts and dried fruit
- Fresh, frozen and dried fruit
- Milk or a calcium fortified milk alternative
- Plain popping corn
Upgrade your snacks today!
- Download our Back to School Snack Solutions Guide
- Take a look at our simple swap carousel
- See lots of recipes and ideas for easy and delicious snacks
- Check out our snack video
* Health Star Rating of less than 3.5