At my kids’ school, each classroom has something called a “Healthy Snack Bin”. The idea is that if there’s a kid who doesn’t have enough food for lunch, or if they’re still hungry after eating what they’ve been given, they can supplement with a snack from the bin.
I’ve just recently discovered that my children covet the healthy snack bin.
Even though I give them (what I think is) a ton of food in their lunches, they’ve been known to gobble it all up, just so they can grab a little something extra from the bin. There are a few reasons why I think this happens.
- The healthy snack bin contains packaged foods (for obvious reasons) and we don’t tend to buy a ton of those for lunches. So it’s new and different. My kids like that.
- Every kid is obsessed with the bin. So my little lemmings are just falling into line.
Whatever the reason, I decided that maybe I should grab a few packaged ‘treats’ for their lunches so they don’t feel like poor deprived children who need to grab snacks at school when we’re quite capable of providing them for our kids.
I’ll preface this with saying that I’m not a nutritionist or an expert – but I’ve done some looking into a few products and the following packaged snacks are ones that I feel quite good about giving to my kids.
- Made Good Granola Bars. My kids LOVE granola bars. Especially ones with chocolate chips. These bars are organic, nut-free, made with whole grains and contain a vegetable powder made from spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets and shitake mushrooms. Not too shabby for a treat my kids equate with little chocolate bars!
- Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. Most kids are obsessed with ‘fishy crackers’ – and why not? They’re cheesy and savory and delicious. Which is why I let my kids snack on them for a treat every now and again. But for a more regular snack, I love these little bunnies. They’re made with organic wheat and real cheese. And again, my kids love them. Perfect!
- Kraft AMOOZA Twists Cheese Strings. I know there’s been some recent debate about cheese strings after teachers have been apparently taking them away from kids at schools. They’ve been deemed ‘unhealthy’. I guess you could argue that… But the way I look at it, these cheese strings offer my kids some protein, they’re fun to eat and they don’t contain more than 5 ingredients. Pretty good if you ask me.
- Unsweetened Applesauce. I think any brand of applesauce is pretty good – as long as you look for the unsweetened variety. Again, with about 5-6 ingredients or less, it’s a quick and easy way to get some fruit into your kids’ day.
- Mary’s Gone Crackers Pretzel Sticks. These may be a touch inconvenient to get when grocery shopping because I’ve only been able to find them at my local health food store – but my kids love the sea salt pretzel sticks dipped in hummus. (And so do I). They’re also organic and made with whole grains. And they’re honestly deee-lish.
- Brown Rice Crackers. Again, there are a variety of brands out there you can choose from. I like these because they’re generally made with only a few ingredients (brown rice, sea salt, etc.) but it’s important to find ones that list actual brown rice or brown rice flour as the main ingredient.
- PC Organics Cereal Bars. These are actually meant for babies, but my 6 and 4-year old still love them. They’re mini – so they’re a good little snack on the go. Plus, they’re made with whole grain flour and oats and only contain 6 grams of sugar per bar.
And there you have it. A few of the packaged staples in our house. What do you guys like to buy? Share them with us in the comments!