Lunchbox season is upon us. After school snack time is here. I find that the better prepared I am to handle the snack cravings of my kids, the better they eat and the less likely they are to grab junk.
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are a few of the items that I always keep stocked as well as some of my family’s favorite snacks.
Items I always have on hand:
- Fresh Fruit – I always have seasonal fruit on hand. I find that when my kids have a hankering for something a bit sweet, that sweet craving can be easily satisfied with a handful of their favorite berries or a clementine.
- Fresh Vegetables – Vegetables that can easily be cut up for easy eating are a must. Cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, celery hearts, grape tomatoes, and broccoli florets are almost always on hand for munching.
My go-to, grab and go snacks:
- Salsa and Organic Tortilla Chips – When eaten in moderation and according to suggested portion sizes, I have no problem allowing my kids to snack on chips and salsa. I always opt for organic chips, as the majority of conventional corn is GMO. Our favorite chips are Late July’s Multigrain Tortilla Chips.
- Bean Dip or Hummus – I am so thankful that my kids love their veggies. Like many kids, they love a little dip to go along with their cut-up vegetables. There are so many prepared hummus options out there. I do prefer to make my own hummus and dip though. It’s far cheaper and so much more delicious. So, I always have organic canned beans on hand. I also make sure that I have small, individual sized containers on hand so that I can pack away some dip for each child. Check out my recipe for Lemon, Pesto White Bean Dip and Lemon, Kale, and Basil Hummus. One of my favorite brands is Green Valley. I love their Garbanzo Beans and Great Northern Beans.
- Bars – There are so many granola and energy type bars on the market; it can be overwhelming. I’ll make it simple. Our favorite bars hands down are Larabars. The ingredients are real and simple. These bars hit the spot, are delicious, and come in a whole host of flavors. Our favorite is the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. They contain 4 ingredients: cashews, dates, chocolate chips, and sea salt. That’s it.
- Crackers – I’m always very careful when I purchase crackers. My three boys will devour a box of crackers in one sitting if allowed to. I only purchase one cracker: Simple Mills Fine Ground Sea Salt Almond Flour Crackers. They are delicious, and I love that they are available at Costco!
- Sargento Balanced Breaks – This is the perfect snack if I need something to grab and go. Perfectly portioned, each snack pack contains a mix of cheese, nuts, and dried fruit (some of them have chocolate as well). My kids really like these (I do, too). They are sold in a 3 pack and come in several varieties. My favorite is the Colby Jack with Peanuts and Cranberries. My kids love the Monterey Jack with Cranberries,Chocolate, and Banana Chips. **Be careful to read the ingredient lists carefully. Sargento has many varieties and some of them are NOT gluten free**
- Applesauce – While I prefer to make my own applesauce, purchasing apples out of season can be very costly. The Unsweetened Applesauce from Vermont Village is simply heavenly. Smooth and so flavorful, you can tell that it’s made with care. We love it. Is available is snack packs or full size jars.
- Roasted Nuts – I know for some of you, nuts may be a no-no. But for others, they are fine. I have a mix in my own home. For those of us who can have nuts, my favorite are the Lightly Salted, Low Sodium Roasted Almonds from Blue Diamond. They are seriously so good. They have the perfect bit of crunch with the just the right amount of salt. You can purchase them in small cans, bags, or in little On The Go bags. Those little bags are preportioned, and come in at 100 calories. Perfect for hikes and biking!
- Freeze Dried Fruit – Not only do my kids love these little packets, but I do too. Freeze dried fruit has a little bit of crunch, the right amount of sweetness, and it’s one of those guilt free snacks. They come in a variety of flavors, but we enjoy the Fuji apple variety the best. I love that they come in individual bags for easy lunchbox packing.
- Thin Rice Cakes – We have ditched the traditional round rice cake discs and discovered something that is a bit different: Lundberg Organic Thin Stackers Red Rice and Quinoa. These are thin, crispy cakes. They are flavorful and the perfect surface for nut butters, apple butter, jam, and butter. These are in my pantry every single week. Out of everything on this list, these are hands down our family’s favorite snack.
- Almond Butter – I really love these individual squeeze packs from Justins. They are the perfect size to grab, they don’t make a mess, and they are perfect on their own or atop some apple wedges, crackers, or celery. I try to have these on hand at all times. I even keep a few in the glove box of my car.
- Gluten Free Fig Bars – My kids really enjoy these little treats. They are soft and have a nice amount of fruit filling inside. They are a great grab and go snack for sure. They come in a variety of flavors. Each snack pack has 2 fig bars.
- Every now and then I love to surprise my kids with a treat. We hardly ever, I mean ever eat candy, so when my kids see peanut butter cups packed for them, they pretty much think it’s an event! They really love Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups (and so do I). Simple ingredients with great taste. What more do you need?
Well, there you have it, my list of the grab and go snack items you’ll find in my house. There are so many more. What are your favorites? I’d love to hear what you love!
**As always, read the ingredient lists for every item that you purchase, and make purchases according to your individual health and dietary needs. Check for cross contamination issues. I also recommend periodically rereading the labels of your go-to’s as ingredient lists change and cross contamination could arise. Better to be safe…**
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