It can be hard to find new ideas for healthy snacks for your kids. "An apple a day" is great in principle, but in practice it can get a little boring. If your child´s lunchbox is regularly coming home from school full of half eaten food, think about it - are your kids trying to tell you something?
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Here are some ideas for healthy and simple alternatives to the same old sandwiches and processed snacks. Try them, and get some feedback from your children. You may be pleasantly surprised at their reaction!
- mini boxes of raisins
- carrot sticks and cheese cut into chunks. Try Edam, Cheddar and mild cheeses until you find a favourite.
- sesame seed snaps or other wholegrain bars. These are readily available from any health food store, and there´s usually a great selection
- mixed dried fruit, trail mix, banana chips or unsalted peanuts.If your child has to watch their calorie intake, limit these products. Whilst very nutritious, they have quite a high calorie count, especially the banana chips!
- make your own low fat muffins ( see the recipe in our recipe selection for basic low fat muffin mix) and try your own variations. My kids favourite is oatmeal and raisin, but there are so many alternatives that you are guaranteed to find one your kids will love.
- try a slice of Spanish omelette or "tortilla". Make your own and fill with peppers, onions, potatoes or whatever your child prefers. Most kids love the eggy taste.
- try a variety of more exotic fruit for a change. Mango slices, a small pot of melon balls with cinnamon, sliced fresh peaches...juicy and sweet.
- slices of low fat fruit loaf such as "malt loaf" spread thinly with butter or margarine
- finally don´t forget the old standby, peanut butter sandwiches. Buy the low fat variety if you can and spread on wholemeal or seed bread for a quick and nutritious standby. Trim the crusts off for younger kids who may protest that the wholegrain bread is too hard to chew.
Don´t forget to vary the drinks that you include too. Try flavoured waters, the occasional milkshake, yoghurt drinks, fruit juices and of course plain old water.As the weather gets warmer, include an ice pack, especially if you have put cooked meat, milk or yoghurt products in the box. This will keep the food cool, fresh and more appetising.
Variety is the key word here, so keep trying and persevere. After all, you will know when you have succeeded - the lunch box will be coming home empty!