August is almost over and in just over a week’s time, our kids will be getting ready to head back to school. Coming up with a variety of healthy snacks to add to your children’s lunch boxes can be a challenge, especially when you are on a budget.
Here at , we’ve come up with some inexpensive ideas, that could help to keep your children happy, full and ready to learn.
Balance food groups for a variety of healthy snacks
According to , a third of a child’s nutrient requirements should be fulfilled at lunch time. This means that it is important to include a wide range of different food groups in a lunchbox.
Starchy foods, such as pasta, bread or potatoes, are important. Protein and calcium are also key food ‘groups’, that should form a part of any lunchbox.
Foods such as eggs, beans and meats, are a good source of protein (as well as essential vitamins and minerals).
Milk, yoghurt and cheese are all examples of foods that you can get calcium from.
It is also vital to include fruit and vegetables in a lunchbox.
So, what kind of healthy snacks could you add to your child’s lunchbox?
OK, so chocolate may not have the reputation as the most healthy food, but it can certainly help to make fruit more tempting for children.
Also, some research has shown that dark chocolate may actually have some health benefits when consumed in moderation and as part of a healthy diet.
A little goes a long way in this quick and budget-friendly recipe.
Simply peel a clementine (or another type of orange) and split into segments.
Dip the tip of each segment into some melted dark chocolate. Place on baking paper and put in the fridge to harden.
These can be made the night before, saving time the next morning.
You could also try this with other fruit. Strawberries work really well as an extra special treat!
Sweet potato crisps
Who can say no to a few crisps? Especially if they are made out of sweet potato!
Sweet potatoes, although more expensive than our ‘normal’ white potatoes, are still reasonably priced, making this a great snack for those on a budget.
Simply slice a sweet potato as thinly as you can and toss it in some oil (vegetable oil will do). Then, put the slices in the oven to roast (around 190 degrees) and ‘crisp up’. This should take around 15 minutes. You will need to ensure that the potato slices are not on top of each other, otherwise, they could go soggy.
This is a wonderful way to get even the fussiest kids to eat vegetables.
Hard boiled eggs
OK, so this isn’t really a recipe, but hard boiled eggs make cheap and healthy snacks for lunch boxes.
Put the eggs in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. Turn the water down to a simmer. Leave the eggs simmering for about 7 or 8 minutes, depending on the size of the egg.
As soon as the time is up, carefully take the pan to the sink and run the eggs under cold water for a few minutes. This rapid cooling down helps to stop the yolks turning a funny colour around the edges.
Peel the eggs by cracking them on a surface then rolling them, being careful not to split the egg. Then get your finger under the shell and start to remove it. To avoid a mess, you can do this over a kitchen towel. That way you can pick up the shells all at once and place them in the bin.
Cheese and pineapple sticks
It may be a bit retro but chopping up hard cheese and tinned pineapple and then threading onto cocktail sticks, results in fun and healthy snacks.
As you are using tinned fruit (this does still count as one of your five a day!), it is also inexpensive.
Change things up by adding a few grapes or some chopped up apples.
Cheese savoury sandwiches
These may not be to everyone’s taste, but they are a great way to get your kids to eat more veggies.
Simply grate some cheese and carrots and mix with a little mayonnaise. A tasty sandwich filler and many kids will not even realise that the carrots are there.