Most kids snacks we see on the market today come in unnecessary packaging and are laced with additives, preservatives and dyes that, to be honest, we don't really need to be feeding our kids every day or ever.
I totally get the “convenience” factor when it comes to preparing lunches and snacks for kids. And popping a pre-made pudding cup in your kids’ lunch bag is less of a headache. However, the amount of waste that will be reduced, the money that will be saved and the healthier our kids will be by simply switching to homemade snacks and carrying them in reusable containers and bottles is a no-brainer.
How to Pack Homemade Lunches and Snacks
We know we should avoid prepackaged snacks but what will we package our homemade snacks in? We really have only 3 options: plastic, glass and stainless steel. I think we can all agree plastic is not the best choice as it leaches into our food, never biodegrades, and is usually made from petroleum. Glass, on the other hand, is a better option but as you probably know it can break easily, and is heavy, so not a great choice for kids lunches.
So what’s the best option then?
My preferred material of choice for container and bottle is stainless steel and for many reasons. It won’t break, it lasts forever, it’s recyclable, it doesn't leach into our food and it is light. But don’t take my word for it. Ecokaren does a great job of explaining why stainless steel is the better option. Or check out Non-Toxic Kids for a teacher’s opinion what works great for school children.
Klean Kanteen is My Go-To Brand
Stainless steel being my favorite material of choice, I love Klean Kanteen for a host of reasons. The owners, Jeff Cresswell and Michelle Kalberer are “firmly fixed on the task of making healthy, high-quality goods that will faithfully replace a lifetime of single-use items.” Their concern with chemicals leaching into their customers food, thus giving health conscious people (waves hand in the air) a safe alternative to plastic and aluminum makes me feel confident about their products. Klean Kanteen containers and water bottles are made from high quality, 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, which is a superior metal in both strength and safety, containing no harmful chemicals or toxins. The lining is electropolished and is not lined with resin or BPA and does not retain flavors.I feel relieved, knowing that they will be safe in carrying healthy snacks for my kids.
7 Healthy School Snacks Ideas
So now we know how to pack snacks, what should you pack? Try these healthy homemade snacks. They are great alternatives to pre-packaged processed foods.
Homemade Smoothies and Juices: Grab a stainless steel water bottle and fill it with a homemade smoothie or juice and skip all the refined sugars. They are a great addition to any lunch and are packed with so many nutrients to help your kids power through the day.
Apple Sauce: Pureeing apples is extremely easy to do. Make a large batch and freeze whatever will not be eaten. Think about the amount of plastic cups and aluminum foil tops that will be saved from landfills. Here is a healthy homemade Apple Sauce Recipe that I love.
3 medium to large apples, chopped
2 Tbsp of chia seeds
4 dates, soaked
1/4 cup of date water soaking the dates
Cinnamon for sprinkling on top
Place the dates in just enough water to cover them and soak for 30 minutes or longer- until nice and soft.
Throw the dates, 1/4 cup of the date water, and 2 Tbsp of chia seeds in your high powered blender. You will probably have to stop a few times to scrape down the sides. I am sure a food processor would work just fine.
Add the chopped apples to the date mixture and blend until smooth. You could also leave it chunky and just pulsate it as well.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, so the chia seeds soften and plump up the apple sauce.
I am confident when using our stainless steel canisters, that myself and kids are not munching on chemicals with our apple sauce or any other snack. The chia apple sauce, is so simple to make, fits perfectly in the Klean Kanteen canisters and perfect for a quick pick me up in lunches.
Homemade Cookies and Muffins: Everyone likes a little treat in their lunch, but Chips Ahoy is not what I am referring to. Homemade nut-free grain-free cookies are simple and will fit perfectly in any small stainless steel container.
Dried fruits: No need for fruit roll-ups that are filled with sugar and to be honest, is there actual fruit in them? Make your own fruit leathers or mix up some dried fruits in a stainless steel container.
Granola Bars: Most kids love to have these as a snack, but there is just so much waste associated with them. How delicious is the homemade version? Very.
Pudding: Another waste culprit, but there is an easy fix by switching to the homemade variety which is tastier, and less wasteful. Simply blend an avocado, banana, cacao powder, and sweetener of choice (dates, honey, maple syrup etc) with a liquid (water or plant-based milk) and voila easy peasy pudding. Be creative and plaTry these healthy homemade snacks. They are great alternatives to pre-packaged processed foods.y around with the ingredients.
Water: And speaking of being healthy, how about packing water instead of soda or pre-packaged juice? It is so important to keep your kids alert during the day, but disposable plastic water bottles are not necessary. A stainless steel water bottle can be refilled countless times during the day and will not leach nasty chemicals into the water. Want to know how much money you can save by simply ditching disposable bottles? Healthful Mama breaks it down for you.
What do you pack for your kids’ school lunch and snacks? How about you or your spouse? Share your favorite recipes in the comments.
This post is sponsored by Klean Kanteen.