It’s tough to get kids to eat well, but if you make these easy, healthy snacks part of their regular routine early on, they won’t even consider candy bars as an option.
Think about it: We don’t talk about brushing our teeth and how it’s good for us, we just do it and teach our kids to do it too.
Have the same attitude towards snack time. Instead of telling your kid real fruit is better than a fruit roll-up, set an example by eating an apple when you’ve got a hunger pang and by providing them with the same option. Snacks high in fiber that provide some protein or healthy fat are ideal.
Of course, you need to serve things they’ll actually eat, while simultaneously watching for sneaky ingredients in packaged snacks, like hydrogenated oils and sugar.
Start with some of my favorites, below, that I promise you I’ve tested on my own little ones many times.
1. DIY Trail Mix
Kids already love trail mix, the trick is just to make your own so it’s not loaded with sugary candy. I love to throw pistachios, cashews, dried apricots, and popcorn in individual Ziploc bags for my daughter. You can use almonds, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, or make them really happy by including antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
Packaged applesauce often has lots of added sugar, but GoGo squeeZ’s convenient, on-the-go packs are filled with fruit only. Your kids will love the variety of flavors—like applestrawberry, applepear, and seasonal favorite applepumpkin spice—and that they can eat them anywhere. Bonus: Did you know GoGo squeeZ is the Official Applesauce of Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts? GoGo squeeZ is currently sponsoring a sweepstakes to win a trip for four to Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resorts during one of the runDisney kids races. Enter for a chance to win here before January 15, 2017.
3. Fruit Fries and Dip
Call it fries and kids will dig it, right? Use this recipe to whip up a snack in two minutes flat. It adds gut-healthy yogurt (pro tip: use GoGo squeeZ’s new YogurtZ) to protein-rich peanut butter for a snack that really delivers a nutrient boost.
This blog was created in partnership with GoGo squeeZ.Healthy Lunchbox Ideas For Summer Camp
Summer has barely begun and I’m already hearing grumbling about healthy lunchbox ideas for day campers.
I get it. I empathize. I make lunches all year too and it can get daunting. My kids are old enough now that they are away at camp, so I get a pass with breakfast, lunch and dinners but I’ve been there.
Camp lunches are harder than school lunches because sometimes they sit out in the heat if the program has no refrigerator or cooler. And the kids are often much hungrier than usual because they have been burning through their breakfast fuel racing from one activity to the next.
Of course there is hydration to cause worry as well.
There are allergy rules that need to be respected.
One of your kids is a vegetarian and the other only eats steak.
One kid has a snack time and the other doesn’t.
Really, it is a blur of baggies, water bottles and smashed sandwiches.
Allow me to help set you up for success as you set your camper up for the summer.
Boy Scout Motto: The first rule is for you to BE PREPARED. Set yourself up for success by calling the camp and finding out if there is a refrigerator or cooler to put your child’s lunchbox in.
This is important, because you may be able to send your picky eater off with his favorite yogurt for lunch, or you may need to be more creative.
Also, ask if there is a snack time and where the snack is stored. If you know the rules (ask about allergy protocols) you are more likely to have a happy camper.
Set yourself up with:
Labeled water bottles. While disposable water bottles are tempting, a reusable BPA free, water bottle that keeps the water cold and can serve as a cold pack is a great tool. You may also want to freeze a water bottle to use as an ice pack, but know that it may or may not defrost in time if your child actually wants to use the melted ice to drink.
Insulated lunch box. (2 per kid). The Wonder Woman metal lunch box of your childhood days deserves a spot in a museum. There are amazing advances in lunch boxes out there – many come with cooler packs that perfectly fit in to keep contents cool. Buy an extra set of the cold packs if possible, so you always have a spare on hand.
Labels. Lots of kids gear looks alike. Buy dishwasher safe stickers with your child’s name so it can be easily identified. Worst case, pull out the sharpie and hand write on disposables.
Ziploc bags in sandwich and snack sizes. Look for environmentally friendly options that are available at many markets. Non disposables that double as placemats are a fave, too!
Tupperware in 4 ounce size, sandwich size and 8 ounce size (2 per kid)
Forks and spoons
A sense of humor
Figure out, based on what you know about yourself and your child, what should go in that lunchbox.
Do you want your kid to have a fruit or vegetables, a snack, a sandwich and a beverage? Is it important to you that there is always something that feels like a ‘treat’ to your son? Does your daughter get a granola bar and fruit every day for snack because that is guaranteed to be wolfed down?
If you have a family philosophy (I like to say food culture) then it makes it easier to establish a routine. The more routine your lunchbox, the easier it is to pack.
Do not put foods and goodies in that lunchbox if they are not what you want your child to eat. Lots of parents fall into a trap of packing a lunchbox that they know their child will eat, even if they are not the foods the parent wants them to be eating. Aim to have at least two or three go-to’s that hit both of these marks.
To add the snack, or not? You should meet your child’s nutritional needs, but may not meet their calorie needs without a snack. If you feel your child needs more than a main dish, fruits or vegetables and water, choose snacks that you feel good about.
To make your life easier, pre-portion them over the weekend, so you can grab and go when packing Sonny’s lunch.
Healthy crackers, like Mary’s Gone Crackers products, are a great choice in lieu of overly processed chips and pretzels. Kids love them and they are more healthful alternatives so you will feel better about serving them.
Nuts are delicious and a tablespoon or two goes a long way. Kids love to shell pistachios and peanuts, so consider them as good “extras” that are friendly to your kids’ health. Note: call camp ahead to find out nut protocols/practices.
Olives pack easily, are delicious, satisfying, and fun. They even come in individual packs!
Dehydrated and dried fruit. Fruit leather and dehydrated berries are easy to find, don’t spoil easily and rate strongly among little ones, so consider them better choices than cookies and candy.
Granola bars can be really sugary and over processed. I recommend Kind bars, Lara, BumbleBar and 22 Days bars; really, there are so many out there, but you’ll know it is a good one if you recognize all of the ingredients on the ingredient list as food!
Dried seaweed is all the rage. Better than chips, these novel slips of seaweed satisfy even the strongest preferences for salty and crunchy. They have perfectly portioned servings that are no worries to toss into a lunchbox.
Happy camping, friends. I am sure your children will be well prepared for a summer of fun, fueled on the healthful contents that you prepared with love, in their lunchboxes.