I send my kids to school with lunch. They also need two snacks for each day in their bag, and although it’s nice to put in a healthy (but sweet) baked treat sometimes, it shouldn’t be twice a day and perhaps not even once.
Here are some ideas that you can alternate through the week – either at home or for school. Because it’s easy to forget all of the greats foods available, I have this list stuck to my fridge as a reminder.
Nuts & Seeds
Best raw and unsalted, nuts provide good oils, protein, fiber and nutrients. Even better if soaked and slow baked, so see nut recipe at http://www.thedailyplanetuk.com/go-nuts-with-nuts/.
Seeds are nature’s storehouses and are packed with protein, minerals, zinc and nutrients. They contain fiber and essential fatty acids that are great for your health. Seeds are better eaten activated or sprouted, as well.
Try: almonds, brazils, cashews, chestnuts, coconut, hazelnuts, macadamia, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts (flax/linseed, chia, hemp and sesame are great, but very small to pick up for snacking)
Olives have such an incredible abundance of phytonutrients that they have proven health benefits for most systems in the body.
Try: green olives, black olives.
Wholemeal biscuits that are complex carbohydrates have great flavor and give your kids sustained energy. If they’re taking them to school, it’s hard to put spreads on them like hummus, tahini, olive or artichoke spread, pesto, nut butters, seed spreads, miso/marmite/vegemite, but you can easily do this at home. For school, you could spread something that won’t go soggy, like cream cheese or butter between 2 oatcakes stuck together.
Try: crispbreads (raw and cooked, rye, spelt, wheat), wholemeal grissini (rice & corn, spelt, wheat), Japanese brown rice crackers, oatcakes, wholemeal pretzels. (rice, corn, oat, multigrain or other ‘cakes’ or ‘thins’ are good, but have a higher GI)
Sea vegetables are a fabulous addition to everyone’s diet because they contain such a concentration of minerals and are rich in vitamins, protein and important trace minerals, many of which are not in our tired soils.
Try: toasted sushi nori, cut into little strips
Just in case your kids aren’t getting enough vegetables at mealtimes, snacking is great way to eat more.
Try: asparagus, beans, broad beans, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cherry tomatoes, courgette, cucumber, fennel, mangetout, peas, sweet pepper
Plain, full-fat, Greek yogurt is so creamy and tasty, that you don’t need sugar or fruit, and provides protein and gut bugs. If your kids don’t have it for breakfast, give them a small pot with their lunch.
If you want to include a sweet snack, there is of course, dried fruit. For kids, a handful is a good amount.
In small amounts, dried fruit is a great source of concentrated nutrients and fiber that satisfies sweet cravings.
Try: apples, apricots, banana, beetroot, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, goji, golden berries, berries, mango, mulberries, pineapple, pomegranate, pumpkin, prunes, quince, raisins, rhubarb, strawberries
Many of us eat the same foods every week. If you give your kids a bit of dried fruit like apricots each week, try buying something different like mango when one runs out. Each week you could try something new and get into a rotation of different foods.