10 Easy Healthy School Snacks (for Students & Parents)
25 Aug, 2020
Maybe you’re packing snacks this year. Or, maybe you’re just preparing them ahead of time for schooling at home. Either way, kids (and many parents), like snacks between meals during the day. In fact, many kids need them. Unfortunately, most commercial school snacks fit into the “ultra-processed” category of foods and compromise health with processed fats, sugars, additives, and more.
Instead of processed junk, here are 10 easy healthy school snacks that you can make and/or buy. Some fit squarely into keto living, while others contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates. Either way, they will nourish the body and keep the brain ready-to-learn.
10 Easy Healthy School Snacks
While all of these school snacks are whole-food and healthy, we’ve included both keto and non-keto options as many children eat higher carbohydrates than their Keto Zone parents. Enjoy each using the option that best fits you and your family.
1. Homemade Trail Mix
Commercial trail mix is often a wolf in sheep’s clothing: seemingly healthy food covered in sugar. However, the idea of trail mix is still a great option, and if you make it yourself, you can choose great ingredients for your student. Try these options:
1 cup (112 grams) of pecan halves
1 cup (112 grams) of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (30 grams) of roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (43 grams) of unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons 70% (or higher)cacao chips
Add no-sugar-added dried fruit such as cut-up mangos, cherries, blueberries, dates, and more.
2. Cheddar Cheese Crisps
If you and your kids are tired of the same old snacks, cheddar cheese crisps are a great new idea! To make them
Cut thin slices of cheddar cheese into small, individual squares. Place the squares on a baking sheet. Optionally, add fresh herbs such as cut-up basil leaves, or sprinkle with spices or black pepper. Bake at 300°F (150°C) for about 30 minutes, or until crisp.
Easy Option: String cheese is also a good option for kids. They are packable, have minimal ingredients, and pack 6-8 grams of protein.
3. Deviled Eggs (or Hard-Boiled Eggs)
Eggs are a potent nutrition powerhouse, and also a great snack.
In fact, they are packed with vitamin B12 and choline, essential nutrients for brain health (1, 2), are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, and contain albumin, and highly absorbed protein source.
Easy Option: Simple hard-boiled eggs are also a great snack. You can make an entire dozen ahead of time for snacks, or even buy oxygen-packed hard-boiled eggs at the store.
4. Berries and whipped cream
As you probably already know, berries are packed with antioxidants and nutrients that support whole-body health. They also make a great snack.
And the carbohydrate level? This all depends on your portion. If you’re keeping carbs low, keep your berries to just 1/4-1/2 cup. If not, you can add more berries!
School Snack Option: For a delicious, healthy school snack, combine 1/2 cup berries with 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream in a container and enjoy at school or home (make sure to use a cold pack in a lunch box).
5. Low-Sugar Brownies
Our Keto Zone brownies are delicious and nutritious school snacks without a fight.
Essentially, while your kiddo is happily eating a brownie, you know that they are actually eating almonds and high-antioxidant cacao.
What’s more, these brownies are sweetened with all-natural erythritol and contain no added sugar. With a little work ahead of time, you and your student can enjoy these sweet school snacks.
Guacamole is one of those delicious and fun foods that taste so good, most of us forget that it is healthy. And not just a little bit healthy. But really, really healthy. Why?
Avocados boost many nutrients that fight free radicals, oxidative stress, inflammation, metabolic issues, and more. They have fiber to support gut health, glutathione to support cellular health, and healthy fats to support whole-body health. Mix it with a few other good-for-you ingredients in this Keto Zone Guacamole recipe, and you’ve got one amazing snack dip.
What are healthy options to dip into it? You can certainly use Keto Chips, cut up Keto Tortilla Slices, or even veggies like cucumber slices.
7. Super Smoothie
We are all interested in staying as healthy as possible this school year. You can help your family by eating and drinking nutrients that support immune health in place of ultra-processed foods that tear down health. Try this Super Smoothie:
For a sweeter taste, sweetened as desired with your favorite keto-friendly sweetener or real maple (non-keto option).
With a cold-pack and good lunchbox, this snack is great on-the-go or at home.
8. Chocolate Avocado Pudding
If you think chocolate pudding is off-limits for healthy school snacks, you’re wrong.
9. Easy Turkey Roll-ups
One of the easiest school snacks (or even lunch options) is the classic turkey roll-up. To make it:
Place a lettuce leaf or turkey slice on wax paper or a silicone mat. If using lettuce, add a slice of turkey next. Then, spread a small amount of mustard or cream cheese on the turkey. Layer ingredients such as mozzarella cheese slices, bell pepper slices, tomato slices, pesto, guacamole, or other favorites. Roll up and secure with a toothpick.
Kids usually dig the toothpick!
10. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
These will become your new favorites. These will become your kids’ new favorites.
They are delicious. They are loaded with great nutrients. And, although “pumpkin,” you have permission to eat them any time of year. What’s more, they are easy to pack and make perfect school snacks!
When adults talk about “snacking,” it’s usually with a negative connotation. Such as “stop snacking so much!” And this is probably for good reason. After all, snacks usually include ultra-processed junk foods. They are often overdone and kill young appetites before a good meal. Or, they are not confined to an event, and are part of the “grazing” snack culture – this is not great for metabolic hormones.
However, healthy meals and snacks are important for kids and teens. Why?
Kids are active and burn calories throughout the day.
Kids are constantly learning. Studies have shown that consistent eating, breakfasts, and food quality play a role in academic performance. On the other hand, junk and fast-foods have been shown to have negative effects (1).
Many kids have little energy reserves compared to adults. Blood sugars can fluctuate easily leading to fatigue, overwhelm, and stress without consistent healthy fuel.
One factor that can contribute to childhood obesity is restriction of food when hungry and then overeating unhealthy foods later (2). Have you ever witnessed a child who underate during the day, and then came home from school ravished?
When Should Kids Add School Snacks?
Take a look at your kids’ schedules. Especially with more social distancing in schools, you child may be eating a very early lunch with a long afternoon, or a late one with a long morning. If they are going more than 3 hours or so without food, it’s a good time for a snack between meals.
In addition, many children go to school all day and then attend after-school activities. If this is the case, plan a good snack after school before activities. Or, if they come home or stay home after schooling, it will be easier to ward off processed snacks if a healthy one is available.
Also, be sure to encourage your child to eat good meals. Lunchtime is often short, so plan foods that are easy to unwrap and eat.
Lastly, make sure your child has a good way to stay hydrated throughout the day. A water bottle that is home and washed each evening can help!
Maybe 2020 will actually become your year of health. The year you decide to ditch processed foods more and more, and reinvent school snacks. We certainly hope our list of ideas helps. We wish you and yours the best, healthiest school year possible, no matter where it takes place.