Keep your child happy with these healthy and fun bites.
It’s back to school season and that means it’s time to start planning what to pack as a healthy snack for your kids. It’s hard enough to get yourself and the little ones up in the morning, without thinking about what could be nutritious (to meet your exacting standards) and delicious (to meet your child’s often dubious standards!) enough to include in the school lunchbox. We hear you, mama! Get the school year off to a good start with these six yummy snacks. What’s even better is that they can be prepared ahead of time to make mornings easier for everyone. There are also a few ideas for after-school snacks, so you don’t have to deal with “hangry” kids!
These muffins are currently on repeat in our house. It’s the perfect alternative to store-bought cookies or biscuits. Make these when you have some overripe bananas and freeze them to use later. Pack two with a piece of fruit for a recess snack and you have a sure-fire hit! This family recipe yields 24 mini muffins or 12 full-sized muffins.
Method: Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl until smooth (I use a food processor but a hand mixer would work too):
- 3 large ripe bananas
- ½ cup of set Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup of coconut sugar (regular sugar also works)
- 2 cups of whole wheat white flour (could also do a mix of white and whole wheat flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt (optional)
Mix till just combined and divide into well-greased mini muffin cups.
Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 12 to 15 minutes or until the muffins are golden in colour. Remove from the oven, let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then pop out. Cool completely before freezing.
Taste tip: Add chocolate chips to the top of each muffin before placing in the oven (you can see they come son-approved!).
These come together in a matter of minutes and can be baked ahead of time and frozen. No need to defrost before packing them – they come to room temperature for a lunchtime snack.
If I’m feeling ambitious, I make this pizza dough, but often I just buy Pillsbury crescent rolls or pizza dough from the supermarket. Puff pastry dough could work too.
Method: Using a bit of flour, roll out one package of crescent roll dough or homemade pizza dough until it is about ¼ inch thick and the shape of a rectangle. Spread pizza sauce over the dough and then keep it simple and top with ⅔ cup of cheese (add your child’s favourite pizza toppings and sneak in finely-chopped vegetables, if you’re feeling brave!).
Start rolling from the long edge, you want your final roll to be long and narrow. Try to get it as tight as you can without squishing it. Slice into ¾ inch pieces with a very sharp knife. Place each slice on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 12 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
This recipe uses three ingredients and takes just a few minutes to make. These have been a favourite for years and my toddler is now enjoying them too. We use this sunflower butter (also available in supermarkets here) to make this nut-free, as that’s a requirement in most schools.
Method: Spread 2 tbsp of your favourite nut butter on a tortilla (if using corn tortillas, make sure they are soft and fresh). Place a full banana at one end and tightly wrap. Slice into thin pieces and enjoy. It’s really that simple and kids love trying anything that “looks good enough to eat”!
Our family loves a good protein bite and bliss balls are becoming increasingly popular world-over. With the nut-free policy at school, it was hard to find one that is safe for lunch boxes and still tastes great. These ones taste like cookie dough but are full of nutrient-dense ingredients. Your kids will love them.
Method: Blend the following ingredients in a food processor or using a strong blender.
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup peanut butter or sunflower butter
- ½ cup ground flaxseed/chia mix
- ½ cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or vegan)
- ⅓ cup honey or agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Roll into small balls and freeze or refrigerate.
Taste tip: I roll mine in sprinkles to make them a bit more fun.
Who doesn’t love breakfast for lunch? My kids love waffles and these quinoa waffles pack a high-protein punch. If you have a fussy eater, conveniently skip mentioning the word quinoa and let him or her just focus on the waffles. We usually make a batch of these at the weekend and go the whole hog with fruits, honey and more. For school days, I use the leftovers and turn them into sandwiches for lunch. Use peanut butter (or sunflower butter to go nut-free), jam or cream cheese as a filling.
Read more: Family-Friendly Breakfast Spots In Hong Kong
There are days when no matter how hard you try, you and your crew are always running five minutes behind. These oatmeal cups are a great lunchbox snack for kids and adults and double as the perfect breakfast bite to go. Read the blog to get more ideas on other flavours you could try.
The method is as simple as whisking milk, eggs, maple syrup, apple sauce and old-fashioned whole oats together with finely chopped apple. Add ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, vanilla extract, baking powder, sugar and salt (nuts are optional) and bake them in greased muffin trays. The goodness of oats in an easy-to-eat and carry muffin – a complete winner!
Store-bought granola is expensive and loaded with sugar. This homemade version is easy to make and store for several weeks in the fridge. It contains nuts so save it for a snack when the kids get home!
Veggies and hummus
Cut up carrots, peppers, celery and cucumbers before your kids get back from school. Serve with some hummus or another dip.
At the weekend, I always try and hardboil a bunch of eggs for the week ahead. I add them to lunches or have them ready to eat on-the-go for those days when we have after-school activities.
Yoghurt can be a great source of fuel at school or on the go. Try and pick pots that say no sugar added or those with less than 9g of sugar per serving. Pair with homemade granola for a nutritious snack.
Skip the fruit snacks and opt for fresh fruit instead – it’s higher in fibre and better for your child’s teeth. If your kids really love a fruit snack, try making this homemade fruit leather instead.