As the early morning alarms beckon, the ritual of packing lunchboxes will start again. How do you pack nutritious healthy snacks for school lunchboxes that fill hungry tummies and fuel the school day? While not everything needs to be freshly made, some preparation work may make your mornings a little less painful.
For the uninitiated, there are usually two breaks given to primary school children – recess which is sometime between 9 am to 11 am, which lasts typically 30 minutes, and the elevenses which is a short snack break sometime between 11 am and noon.
While some parents give pocket money for purchasing food during recess, others pack lunchboxes to save time on queueing and ensuring a good dose of nutrition (rather than junk). Here’s what we suggest!
Easy Lunchboxes and Healthy Snack Ideas
Fruits – Dried or Fresh
Good sources of fibre and natural fructose come from fruits, either dried or fresh. Dried raisins, cranberries are easy. If you prefer fresh fruits, try sliced apples (cut and dipped in saltwater, store in ziplock or an airtight container the night before), or berries which are easy to pack.
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While this requires slightly more preparation work, a big batch of granola could last for many weeks. Just bake some oats, nuts, coconut oil, honey and other flavours, mix in some dried fruit and chocolate chips, viola you have your own granola. Check out our to-go recipe here.
Seaweed is always irresistible and comes packed with lots of vitamins. It is easy to purchase seaweed packs from any supermarket. You could even pack some white and brown rice separately, and it becomes sushi when paired together. #Protip Sprinkle on some sesame and chia seeds to give it even more crunch and nutrients.
These can be DIY-ed or bought off the shelves. Look for the low-sugar options in order to make sure it is a healthy snack. Each bar should ideally have less than 15 g sugar (per 100 g). Nuts, seeds, whole grain oats are great ingredients to have. We love the museli bars from Freedom Foods which are perfect for school lunchboxes.
Whole Grain Crackers
Another pre-packed item for nutritious lunchboxes is whole-grain crackers. There is a whole range to choose from at supermarkets, from gluten-free options, seeded crackers, multi-grain to flavoured ones. Whole grain provides fiber, energy and antioxidants. Plus they help boost brain power!
Soba Noodles with Edamame and Seaweed
Since soba noodles are served chilled, this is a great dish to prepare the night before and chilled before as a healthy snack for school. Simply boil some soba / buckwheat noodles for 3 mins, toss and drain, mix in condiments such as a little soy sauce, coconut oil and other ingredients like cooked edamame. Sprinkle some seeds and seaweed flakes on it the next morning before packing the lunchbox into the schoolbag.
Good Ole Sandwiches
A traditional favourite, sandwiches do not have to be bland nor boring. To prepare a healthy snack for school, use whole-wheat bread and fillings such as nut butters, boiled eggs, tuna (preferably skipjack which is a sustainable option) will give your kids a good dose of energy plus nutrients.
Choose cereals wisely. While colourful-looking cereal can be eye-catching, they might not be the best options for school lunchboxes. Pick whole-grain ones such as Cheerios with no added sugar or muesli options.
Made from grains of golden corn, corn thins come in a variety of flavours. You can replace bread with corn thins when making sandwiches or have them served plain. Corn thins are also gluten-free.
Egg, Cheese and Ham Breakfast Muffins
Breakfast muffins are a freezer-friendly option that requires some prep work yet easy to reheat for hectic school days. You can sneak in greens in this option and lots of other ingredients too. First, beat eggs with salt and pepper, finely chopped onion with cheese, bacon or ham, spinach and sundried tomatos. Bake them using muffin pans at 180dc for 20 mins. Done! Once cooled, freeze them in airtight containers, thaw the night before and reheat before packing it into the lunchbox.
One more freezer-friendly lunchbox option is pancakes! One plus point is – this doesn’t require thawing, heating it up in a toaster oven would do the trick. Make the pancakes using plain full fat yogurt, freeze them and you could prepare a month’s worth of pancakes for school lunchboxes!
Packing Healthy Snacks for School Lunchboxes is Easy!
Packing a different healthy snack option for each day of the school week would give your child a variety of vitamins and minerals. Plus – your child might be looking forward to that time of the school day for a much-loved snack. Top it up with a handwritten note and the lunchboxes will be the best fuel for the day!