- 3 mins
Healthy School Lunch Ideas and Snacks for Kids
What to feed our kids can feel like an ongoing challenge. Putting together the same old packed lunches and after-school snacks feels monotonous after a while. So if like me you are running out of ideas then look no further. We’ve put together some fun, easy snacks for kids to enjoy which will hopefully give me as much inspiration as it will for you.
Easy breakfast ideas to power kids’ brains for learning:
Think of your child’s brain like an engine that needs to be powered up to get going in the morning. Psychologists at the Human Appetite Research Unit, University of Leeds have researched the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast for school children.
“Breakfast consumption is associated with positive outcomes for diet quality, micronutrient intake, weight status, and lifestyle factors”Dr. Katie Adolphus, Dr. Clare Lawton, and Professor Louise Dye
Try swapping the processed sugary cereals for porridge. Oats will sustain their energy levels more effectively throughout their busy morning at school. Sprinkling some seeds and nuts on top will give their omega-3 fatty acids a real lift! Eggs are fantastic too so cooking up some pancakes will give them a brain boost before school.
Happy Face Fruit Pancakes
Fuel up with some nutritious pancakes after listening to Wurley’s Happy Morning Meditation that gets kids moving and stretching alongside our Twirly Tiddlycopter Moshling. Simply sift 100g of flour into a bowl then add two organic or free-range eggs. After, pour in approx 300 ml of whole organic milk and stir. Then pop in two or three spoonfuls of the mixture into a hot pan. Cook both sides and decorate your pancake with fruit to make a face.
School lunch ideas for kids:
Are you looking to do something different for your child’s school-packed lunch? My favorite is to make a granola pot which my eldest child loves.
- Chop up some fruit (berries are great for this) and put them at the bottom of a small pot.
- Pour in some natural yogurt. There are some great vegan alternatives if your child is dairy-free.
- Add a few sprinkles of low-sugar granola and/ or seeds. I use chia seeds as my child attends a nut-free school. You can also make your own granola with rolled oats, coconut oil, and honey.
- Top with some dried fruit. My daughter loves the crunchiness of dried bananas.
A granola pot is an easy way to combine the essential food groups. When thinking of school lunch ideas try to make them as nutritionally balanced as possible. It’s great to include some slow-release carbohydrates in your child’s packed lunch as this will give them the long-lasting energy needed to get through the rest of the day. Wholegrain bread, couscous, crackers, or wholegrain rice can keep their energy high without an afternoon slump. Just remember some protein to help with muscle strength and keep them full. Plain yogurt, ham, cheese, pole and line tuna, seeds, and eggs are super. Pop in some delicious fruit or chopped veggies and you have a lovely, well-balanced school lunch.
If your child has any snack ideas for their packed lunch, you could even get them to write down their recipe and make the food together that morning before school. This is a sneaky way to get them to engage with their literacy skills. I also love to leave a little positive self-esteem affirmation in their packed lunch such as ‘you are doing your best and that is enough.’
Healthy and fun after-school snacks:
This is the perfect wind-down time for kids so try to avoid sugary after-school snacks. Processed foods and sugary snacks can give kids peaks and troughs in their mood and concentration. Why not try something a bit different and make a smoothie instead? A smoothie is a quick, fun, and easy way to get kids involved in their nutritional wellbeing.
Slow-Down Summer Smoothie
I think our FruFru Moshling would love to serve this in her Purrfectly Peaceful Cat Café as it’s great for stabilizing mood and helping little ones feel great. Bananas contain vitamin B which helps release the serotonin hormone. Yogurt is also a great source of magnesium which supports energy production. Using fermented yogurt such as kefir can be extra beneficial for gut health. Pop all the ingredients into a blender and whizz away.
- 250 grams (half a big pot) of natural yogurt
- 100 ml of oat milk, cows milk, or coconut water (you can add more or less depending on how thick you want it to be)
- One large handful of frozen berries (raspberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries)
- One ripe banana
- A tbsp of chia seeds
- A squirt of raw, organic honey
- Two or three ice cubes
You could also pop in some soaked cashew nuts for some extra protein and good fats but please always check for allergies.
Fabulous Froggy Smoothie
Gideon the Amphibian and his croaky froggy choir would love this ribbitingly delicious froggy-inspired smoothie. A dreamy moonlit tour across Lily Pad Lake is just what your child needs to drift into a restful place after a busy day at school. Simply chuck all the ingredients into a blender and whizz away.
- Two small handfuls of spinach or kale
- One small avocado (I buy frozen as they don’t tend to last too long)
- ½ mango
- One ripe banana
- 300 ml (approx) of coconut water or your favorite milk
- Two or three ice cubes
If your child is allergic to the color green then you could always pop in a spoonful of raw cacao powder to make this yummy after-school smoothie taste chocolatey.
Healthy snacks to take to the school game:
Hummus can be an easy one to take to the school game. It’s nutritious and full to the brim with plant-based protein that will keep them going. You can buy some from most supermarkets or even better make it yourself:
- Put a drained 400g tin of chickpeas in a blender
- Squeeze in some lemon
- Add one clove of chopped garlic
- Add 75 ml of tahini paste
- Add a little water
- Mix in the blender
- Chop up some carrots, peppers, and celery to dip into your homemade hummus.
Please be careful when serving your child raw vegetables, especially children under the age of five. Choking hazards are something to be cautious of.
Food planning on a budget:
The cost of living crisis can mean some families are looking at ways to reduce their monthly food outgoings. Meal planning can be a great way to stick to a budget. This way we can make sure we only go to the shops once and buy what we need for the meals that week. Popping to the supermarket midweek can mean we end up getting those spur-of-the-moment purchases that we don’t really need. You could even get your food staples like pasta, rice, and tins once a month or when you see these on a special offer. Making a plan at the weekend for breakfasts, school lunch ideas, after-school snacks, and evening meals is great for working within a budget.