Lunch snacks don't have to be the same old boring vending machine fare. Round out the kids' school lunches with snacks and sides that are both healthier and tastier than potato chips and pre-packaged cookies. These 10 lunch box snacks and sides will help you make those brown bag lunches positively untradeable!
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1. Trail Mix
Trail mix makes a terrific lunch box snack, because it's full of protein, vitamins and minerals, and you can make a big batch in advance and just dole it out as needed. Plus, trail mix satisfies that urge to crunch on something, and it's easy to adjust the recipe to your kids' taste preferences. They don't like almonds? Use peanuts instead. They aren't fond of raisins? Try dried cherries. The possibilities are limited only to your imagination.
There's something about the combination of crisp, sweet carrots and creamy peanut butter that appeals to everyone (adults included). To pack this snack for school lunches, I usually just put some creamy peanut butter in a small plastic container with a lid and pack the carrot sticks separately. The kids can treat the peanut butter as a dip, or you can add a plastic knife so they can spread it right on the carrots themselves.
These aren't your typical rice crispy treats. Instead of marshmallows and butter, these rice crispy treats are held together with a peanut butter and brown rice syrup mixture that is nutty and sweet, but not cloying. The chocolate topping provides the ideal finish for this crunchy lunch box snack.
My kids' friends all seem to find their way to our house whenever I make this snack mix. They love that sweet-spicy flavor combination (don't worry - it isn't too spicy). Try using peanuts instead of cheese crackers for a change of pace.
Forget instant pudding, and don't even think about standing at a stove and stirring pudding. There's no need when you can have homemade chocolate pudding in a snap with this uber easy three-ingredient recipe. Greek yogurt is the secret ingredient that makes this chocolate pudding so creamy without cooking.
The first time I made these spiced pecans was for a homemade holiday gift for the teachers. Unfortunately, my kids ate the whole batch before I got a chance to pack them up in jars. These sweetly-spiced pecans are positively addictive, and the nuts certainly have more nutritional value than the average vending machine fare.
This zucchini bread recipe has less sugar and fat than most and more vitamins, thanks to a secret ingredient: canned pumpkin. It adds a subtly sweet flavor, a lot of vitamin A and a bit of fiber to this warmly-spiced zucchini bread. But all the kids will know is that this zucchini bread tastes great.
Make a big batch of this popcorn early in the week, and pack it in the kids' lunches all week long. They'll love the sweet-salty flavor combination.
Although you can certainly make this recipe with microwave popcorn, I like to make it with popcorn I pop on the stove. It's just as easy and tastes much better. Check out my review of the Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper - that's what I use to make all of my popcorn.
If you've never tried roasting chickpeas before, you will be amazed at the results. The chickpeas turn crunchy in the oven (the key is to stir them several times while they're roasting) and with a sprinkle of sea salt, they become savory bites of munchable heaven for kids. Jazz them up with a sprinkle of Chinese five spice powder or Old Bay seasoning for a different twist.