I have 2 sons, one in preschool and one will be next September. I have to pack them snacks for school and I really don't want to keep relying on processed snack food for them. What kind of snacks do you give your little boy so he can avoid the processed food trap? Do you have some healthy kid-friendly snack ideas? Fruit just goes so far with my kids!
Ohhh Boy.. school lunches are about to begin for you. Always a hot topic especially this time of year. I'm not sure I'm the best person to ask but I'll share with you my school lunch strategy and maybe it will give you a few ideas.
First, I went to a bento style lunch box (click here to see the one we bought a few months ago). Little guy LOVES it. He likes the fact that everything has a container and since I already took a departmentalized approach to lunch they work great for us.
Regardless of the lunch box my approach is the same. Little guy gets 1 thing from 4 different categories, main course, vegetable, fruit and a treat.
The Main Course
The main course is normally a ham sandwich on whole grain. Although that gets boring so I mix it up a little. Sometimes it's rolled ham with triscuits, whole grain ritz with laughing cow (he LOVES the stuff) and turkey pepperoni, sandwich sushi or even leftovers. I've been known to send him to school with 2 chicken legs from the night before or even a slice of leftover pizza.
I have many other main course ideas but they don't fly with Ryan. I'd love to give him hummus and whole grain pita triangles or even a peanut butter and jelly but he's not a fan. His school is also peanut free which wipes a whole food group off the table for me as I would literally go nuts with nuts but I can't at the moment.
Lunch and dinner never get served without a veggie. It's just a personal rule of thumb. For school lunches our go-to's are pepper strips, carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, green beans, sugar snap peas, cucumber and now kholrabi. 🙂 There are all served simply raw.
Fruit is by far the easiest of the categories. I mix it up.. apples, plums, peaches, watermelon, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloup, honeydew, banana, orange slices, whatever! I go with what's in season and what he likes shooting for at least 2-3 different ones per week.
The treat is by far the Little Guy's favorite and I let him pick something special for his lunch every week when we go grocery shopping. It's usually those character gummies or kid yogurt (which I consider a treat with all the sugar in it) but sometimes I'll throw in some pretzels, gold fish, and even an occasional piece of leftover candy.
My philosophy for feeding my Little Man is pretty simple, variety and moderation. His diet doesn't have to be "perfect" it just needs lots of fresh whole foods with a focus on fruits and veggies. As long as he eats the "good stuff" I let him have the treats. We have conversations about the importance of healthy food in his diet and he knows and is very aware of our lunch making "strategy" even making the healthy decisions for himself.
Since you are only packing snacks you may want to focus on 2 of the categories. Maybe, a fruit or veggie paired with some cheese and crackers or a cheese stick. Cut veggies sticks with a little ranch dip? Half of sandwich? I know the processed stuff is easy but I'd make a rule of pairing something processed with something fresh. That's a nice simple way of adding variety and whole foods without sending your kids to school with just fruit.
I'm sure there other moms out there with tons of tips so I'm going to turn it over to the comments.... 🙂