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Looking for lunchbox inspiration or snack ideas for kids? You'll love this roundup of healthy, store-bought and take-away snacks!
Then it's that time of year again, another fun summer in the books! I always start the school year super prepared. You know what I'm talking about.
Nice and packed lunch boxes the night before with homemade snacks, checked and organized tasks in the backpack, school clothes presented the night before, and even a healthy breakfast prepared and ready every morning.
And then, like 4 days later, reality sets in and I go back to my messy ways! Trying to get out the door on time, and collecting a last minute lunch box.
Like most moms, I don't have time to make my kids enjoy delicious and healthy homemade lunch items every day. I try, I try And it happens like once or twice a month.
A friend of mine texted me last week asking for some store-bought snack ideas for her son. Not homemade, she wanted some good ones with quality ingredients that she could pack in her lunch box. Naturally, I decided that this information is probably very helpful to many moms!
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I like to keep a solid supply of easy-to-pack snacks for lunch boxes. My criteria is generally minimal ingredients, quality ingredients (no artificial colors or flavors, no GMOs and organic when possible), and high in some or several nutrients (some may be high in protein and fat, others high in fiber or vitamins, etc.) I also pay close attention to the amount of sugar in my children's lunch box! For example, if we're packing some fruit snacks, I'm not adding other high-sugar snacks (check out their bars, granola bites, etc.)
Finally, I am sensitive to the amount of money I spend and I love finding the best deal. I did all that research for you here. In some cases, I found a better deal on Boxed than Amazon, or even Amazon on Costco.
Before entering my favorites list I also want to share with you my new favorite lunchbox! I love the OmieBox because it has the compartments that I love PLUS it has a built-in thermos in the box that can keep food hot or cold for 4 hours. This works great for us because my kids LOVE hot lunch entrees (usually leftovers from dinner). But, you can even remove that compartment and insert a cold main dish like a sandwich, wrap, etc. Super useful !!! You can see a close-up below.
To my favorite packaged foods! This is not an exhaustive list, there are many other brands that could easily be on this list. But, I have included my favorites that are most reasonably priced. Because in case you haven't noticed, snacks with clean ingredients can be PRECIOUS! I have divided them into categories.
Bars / Snacks:
Enjoy Life Chewy Bars – They're great for school lunches, especially for kids with lots of allergies and nut-free schools. These are gluten-free, nuts, soy, dairy, and eggs. These are a little higher in sugar than I like, but high in healthy fats (which I love). I'd like to pack vegetables and salty foods to balance it out!
I love Larabar minis, and my children too. I used to buy the bigger box that was discontinued, but the smaller box is still a good price. These are more like home energy bites with just a few ingredients!
I usually buy Made Good Granola Minis at Costco for a good price, but we recently tried a few other flavors and LOVED them all! This is another allergy friendly company and perfect for school lunches.
RX bars would probably drop as my favorite children's snack (it's certainly my favorite adult snack) due to its high protein content, high healthy fat content and overall nutrient density. My biggest complaint is the price, but I'm always on the lookout for sales or offers on these and you should too!
Chips or chips as food:
Popcorn will be the ones that look a lot like normal potato chips. My kids LOVE these! A box of 18 lunch bags can be purchased for $ 12.99 in a box
Boom Chicka Pop comes in different flavors: the corn boiler or regular sea salt. They are so good! A box of 24 can be purchased for $ 12.99 in a box.
Stacy's pita chips are a fantastic companion to hummus or guacamole (see below), or just plain! A box of 24 can be purchased at Boxed for $ 17.99
Harvest Snaps is not only really delicious, but the fiber and protein content for this small serving is excellent! I also think these are really affordable in Boxed's 28 bags for $ 11.99.
These Whisps Cheese Fries are surprisingly packed with protein! 9 g in the parmesan bag and 6 g in the cheddar cheese bags. You can buy the variety pack at Costco or order at Boxed for just $ 11.19!
These Off the Eaten Path Vegetarian Potato Chips combine rice, peas, and black beans to pack protein and fiber. They have a really delicious texture and taste that my kids love! These are probably my favorite vegetarian fries. They're priced higher at $ 18.99 for 16 bags, but the nutrient density makes it worth it.
If you have adoring eaters who are interested in or love seaweed, these organic Gimme snacks are perfect and great value! A pack of 20 sandwiches costs $ 15
Fruit snacks / strips / bags:
Annie's Fruit Snacks are also a great alternative to conventional fruit snacks packed with artificial ingredients. My kids also love the variety pack here! These cost roughly the same price as Go Organically above.
Fruitmoji snacks are also a great bargain. Only $ 7.99 for a box of 60! Made without food coloring and high fructose corn syrup.
I love fruit strips, especially these organic Stretch Island strips! I know this is all about kids, but these are a snack that I also love to hide in my bag. Made with real fruit, and very rich.
These pure layered organic fruit bars are the perfect combination of tart and sweet. The whole family loves these! A 24-pack costs around $ 17 on Amazon.
My kids love these dried fruit packages! On sale right now at Boxed for just $ 14.39 for a box of 20.
Go Go Squeez Applesauce on the go is another great option for fruit bags. They are well priced at Costco, or find them on Amazon in the variety pack or choose your favorite flavor.
Enjoy Life Seed and Fruit Mix is a perfect mix option for kids with allergies or schools without nuts!
Other good snacks:
Free Range Turkey sticks at a great price! These Field Trip turkey sticks are the least expensive "meat" stick options at just $ 13.99 per 24 sticks. Great way to add a little protein.
My kids LOVE meat sticks, and Snack Mates makes the perfect size sticks for a lunch box. These are expensive on 40 sticks for $ 40, but the ingredients are clean and approved!
These Vermont Smoke and Cure minis are slightly cheaper and also with clean ingredients. Get boxed for $ 28 to $ 15.
I want to recommend these cute My Super Super organic cookies for toddlers and younger kids, but my almost 11 year old loves them. The flavors are so much fun, and I love that they're made with coconut oil and chia seeds. Also a snack without nuts! A box of 24 is priced at $ 15 on Amazon.
Justin's Maple Butter Almond Packs are convenient, boost nutrition for fruits like apples and pears, or just taste delicious right out of the pack!
Other Perishable Snacks I Love (found at Costco):
Kirkland Organic Hummus Cups
These work great alongside potato chips, banana potato chips, or even in an omelette wrap.
And that's a wrap! Happy lunch packing up moms!
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