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School Lunch and After School Snack Ideas

Finding healthy options for school lunch and after school snack is tough. Between picky eaters and time-pressed families, what do we feed our kids? Our Kids has compiled reader suggestions into this handy guide. You can even use the snack ideas for some great sides for lunches. Thanks to all those parents who contributed. Hopefully something here will stick with your kids.

Do you have a snack or lunch suggestion for the list? Email info@our-kids.com and we'll add your comments to the list.

After School Snacks

  • Veggies: broccoli, edamame, cucumbers, steamed green beans, baby carrots or red pepper (with or without dip)
  • Fruit: apple slices, red grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, raspberries, yogurt covered raisins, dried mangos, clementimes, strawberries, blueberries, dried fruit strips. Try for fruit that is in season.
  • Ways to mix up the fruits and veggies:
    • Apples and PB, banana burrito (banana, nut butter, chocolate syrup or chocolate chips rolled in a wg tortilla), crispy baked chick peas, crispy baked tofu with raw veggies and dip, soup, veggie sushi, stuffed cherry tomatoes, or a smoothie.
    • Apples with honey.
    • Apples slices dipped in yogurt
    • Make fruit or veggie kabobs
    • Cut up apples and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar
    • Cut apples up, put toothpicks in, dip in honey and then dip in Rice Krispies
    • Banana slices on top of peanut butter bread with a couple of dollops of jam on top. Slice bread diagonally and reverse it so it looks like a butterfly with white and red spots on the wings
    • A trick: Take an apple and cut off the four sides, then reassemble it and hold it together with a rubber band. That way it doesn't get brown and you just need to pop the rubber band off and the apple pieces are ready to eat.
    • Pured peas w/a touch of garlic makes a delicious "dip" with crackers.
    • Packaged guacamole (with carrots to dip if your kid is a veggie eater!)
    • Roasted cauliflower - sprinkle a little parmesan on top before roasting.
  • Other Ideas:
    • Applesauce
    • String cheese, crackers and cheese
    • Rice cake pizzas. Spread peanut butter on a plain rice cake and top with chopped raisins or any dried fruit such as cranberries. Cut into wedges.
    • Graham crackers and strawberry cream cheese
    • Kids Cliff Z Bar, granola bars
    • Rice cakes
    • Yogurt/Gogurt
    • Nachos
    • Goldfish or animal crackers
    • Fruit snacks
    • Hummus and pita chips
    • Popcorn
    • Pretzel sticks or tortilla chips
    • Cheese tortillas
    • Homemade muffins
    • Nuts
    • Avocado smoothie from Family Fun Magazine.
    • Trader Joe's frozen spinach and cheese dip
    • Trail mix
    • Cinnamon crisps- butter a flour tortilla then sprinkle on cinnamon sugar and bake for about 2 minutes for a yummy treat.
    • "Mixed up" pizzas on mini pitas. Use peanut butter as the sauce, coconut or carrot shreds for cheese, and raisins, and banana or apple slices for the toppings.
    • Cheese & refried bean quesadilla
    • Seaweed wrapped rice (Geem-bop in Korean)
    • Kids Ambrosia: cut up fresh fruit, sprinkle lemon juice on apples to keep from turning brown, add strawberries before salad will be eaten, mix with a little bit of cool whip and store in airtight container.
    • Homemade waffles with almond butter and bananas
    • Ants on a log: carrots, peanut butter and raisins
    • Rolled up turkey, cottage cheese and fruit
    • Dried cereal
    • Homemade pumpkin bread
    • Ladybugs on a log: celery with peanut butter and dried cranberries
    • Chocolate hazelnut butter - good to dip apples or as a sandwich. Good alternative to peanut free locations!
    • Warmed flour tortilla with peanut butter and honey.
    • Chocolate covered strawberries is a fun idea and pretty easy. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave and dip the strawberries in it.
    • Raisins with shredded carrots
    • Apple bites

Lunch Ideas

Sandwiches
Get creative and surprise your child by using cookie cutters in the sandwich bread to make fun shapes.

  • Cream cheese & jelly, cream cheese & banana
  • Tuna, tomato & mayo, tomato & cheese
  • Tortilla rollup (veggies, tomato, hummus or other favorite filling)
  • Egg salad
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Cheese sandwich
  • Bagel with cream cheese
  • Lunchmeat (turkey, ham, roast beef) with cheese
  • Mini pita pocket sandwiches

Non-sandwiches

  • Chicken caesar wraps (using Perdue shortcuts grilled chicken and Trader Joe's whole wheat tortillas)
  • Calzones
  • Rolled up tortilla with peanut butter, grated apples and/or carrots and raisins
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Leftovers from dinner
  • Pasta
  • Yogurt with granola on the side + apples with sunflower seed butter
  • Soup in a thermos
  • Fruit salad
  • Tyson's Nuggets from the refrigerated section that are fully cooked)
  • Cheese cubes and crackers
  • Cut an apple in half and fill middle with peanut butter
  • Rice in a thermos, small sheets of seaweed, and cucumbers cut into matchsticks.
  • When lunches are not kept in a refrigerator, freeze "squeezy yogurts" overnight before adding to lunch bag, they will then defrost during the morning and should still be cold at lunchtime.

Other Resources

Websites

Reusable Containers

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