At our elementary school, the cafeteria has the capacity to hold only one grade at a time, so the lunch hour begins as earlier as 10:45am for some students and goes as late as 1:45 for others. To combat these long gaps between home – meal- home, our school asks that all students also pack a snack to eat at a specific time in the classroom. And I will tell you, that my kids look forward to their snack time! As a parent who sometimes volunteers in the classroom, I've had a chance to check out the snacks brought in by kids classmates- and they range from healthy choices like veggies and dip to poor choices such as candy bars or bags of chips! So since I am focusing on making my kids lunch healthier, happier, and hip this year- that means their school snack too!
Use a school-day snack to round-out (balance) their lunch
With my picky eater, I have found that he will eat his fruit more often when I include it in his snack, than when I pack it with his lunch. At lunch, he is more interested in whatever “entree” I have packed, and chatting with his buddies…. so the fruit often comes home uneaten. But when I send him in with grapes and a yogurt for a snack- he eats it all.
Pack the snack separately
I have learned that if I throw the snack in their lunch bag- the young ones will eat it along with their lunch and then will be disappointed at snack time when they have nothing else to eat. This tells me that a) I am probably not packing them enough food for lunch if they are hungry enough to eat it all! and b) I need to pack their snack in a separate bag or section of their backpack.
In years past, I had separate (but smaller) lunch bags for the kids for their snack. But I felt that it just added additional weight to an already heavy backpack. This year I am just tucking their snack into the front section of their backpacks.
Try to avoid pre-packaged (non eco-friendly) snacks!
It is so tempting to just buy a stack of those single-serving sized packages at the grocery store- everything from baby carrots, apple slices, to teddy grahams, and granola bars, and let the kids pick out what they want to take to school each day. Now I am not saying that I don't keep some of these in my pantry at all times- because I do! But sending kids with these throw-away bags or wrappers each day adds up to a lot of waste over time. So I prefer to either make homemade snacks, or purchase items in bulk and then re-package them in reusable containers for my kids to take in as snacks.
Homemade Fruit Snacks
I found this idea over one of my favorite websites Six Sister's Stuff- a recipe for homemade fruit snacks made from sugar-free jello, unflavored gelatin and water. You just pour the mixture into small molds, allow them to set up for a bit and then pop them out. They taste just like the ones that come in the little packages from the grocery store- but these are sugar-free and super simple to make!
Don't forget to tuck in a little love!
And remember to head on over to Little Lunch Notes to print off this adorable note for your kids’ lunch boxes! My kids love these!
Please check out the rest of our “Beyond Bologna” posts….
Amanda from Parenting BY Dummies showed us her killer recipe for Black Bean Salsa and then professes her love for Muller yogurt (yogurt kids love!), and shares these No-Bake Gluten-Free Granola Bites.
So what’s your best tip for keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold? Please leave us a comment and share!