school wellness

5 Grab-n-Go Healthy School Snacks

by Sally on August 22, 2014

5 Grab-n-Go Healthy School SnacksDoes your child take a snack to school? Many do, to eat in their classroom or between school and sports practices. Sure, it’s easy to wash a piece of fruit–and ideally, it’s good to avoid waste with reusable food containers. But boy, it’s awfully nice to have packaged options on hand for mornings so nutty, you’re lucky if the kids are wearing matching shoes.

It may seem like junk food manufacturers have the market cornered on packaged snacks. But “packaged snack” doesn’t have to be synonymous with mini bags of chips, cookies, and gummy fruit snacks. More companies are creating packaged options that make healthy eating a little bit easier for busy people. I like that.

I’ve written before about snacks at school, how there are many different notions of exactly what a “healthy snack” looks like (read Will The Real “Healthy Snack” Please Stand Up?“).  So you may have other ideas for healthy school snacks–if you do, please share in the comments! But in the meantime, here are five that pass muster with me:

Naturipe Fresh Blueberries: Washed and ready to eat, these are sold in kid-sized packages rigid enough that the berries don’t get smashed in a backpack. But they’re also easy for little hands to open. (Available at retailers such as Wal-Mart, Safeway, and Winn-Dixie.)

5 Healthy (Packaged) Snacks For School

Tillamook Cheddar Cheese: String cheese is all well and good, but this is a yummy change of pace. (Find a store nearby that stocks them.)

5 Healthy (Packaged!) Snacks for School

Sabra Hummus With Pretzels: Kids will dig these little pretzel rings for dunking into protein- and fiber-rich hummus. Sabra also makes single-serve hummus cups sans pretzels, plus a grab-n-go salsa and tortilla chip kit.

5 Healthy (Packaged!) Snacks for School

Single Serving Carrots: Ready-to-eat baby carrots are sweet and satisfying. These are a store brand from Kroger–but other brands, like Grimmway, also makes snack-size carrot bags.

5 Healthy (Packaged!) Snacks for School

Justin’s Nut Butter Packets: These packets are the perfect two-tablespoon portion of nut butter. Just rip open the top and squeeze it onto apple slices, crackers or (the preferred method around here) right into your mouth. Save the sweetened ones for occasional treats–and be sure to ask about the nut policy at your school before packing them. (Go here to find a retailer near you that carries them.)

5 Healthy (Packaged!) Snacks for School

What packaged snacks do you send to school?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Naturipe. I received blueberries to try and was compensated for my time. As with everything on this blog, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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In Praise of Food Activism, Big & Small by Real Mom Nutrition

School is starting in the next few weeks. Are there are changes you’d like to see in your child’s school, like less sugar in the classroom or more events that get kids moving? If so, make this the year you get involved! Here are three ways to jump in:

1. Attend PTA meetings. It’s the very best way to know what’s going on and have a voice in school functions. Consider these next steps:

  • Suggest an alternative to the typical junk food fundraisers. Check out this guide to healthy (and profitable) fundraisers from Center for Science in the Public Interest.
  • Read this guide for parents from Corporate Accountability International if there’s fast food marketing in your child’s school and you’d like to change that.
  • Work with other like-minded parents to brainstorm solutions to what bothers you. Teachers and administrators hear plenty of griping, but concrete ideas (and offers to help) are much more effective. I started this simple Fruit Ninjas program after seeing how much fruit was going uneaten at breakfast.

2. Join the school’s wellness committee (or start one). You can create wellness programs and even help shape policies concerning food and physical activity. Consider these next steps:

3. Foster good communication with your child’s teacher. Ask (politely!) about how food is used, if at all, in the classroom. Consider these next steps:

  • Get facts about food in the classroom from The Lunch Tray’s Food In the Classroom Manifesto, plus ways educators can help get junk food out of schools with these ideas from Spoonfed.
  • Ask about celebrating birthdays without food–or go the non-food route for your own child and see if it catches on. Read my post 10 Food-Free Ways to Celebrate School Birthdays for creative ideas that kids and parents will love.
  • Arm yourself with the facts on candy rewards in the classroom. This White Paper from Casey Hinds of USHealthy Kids is a terrific summary of the current research and includes food-free strategies for classroom management.
  • Find out how to work with teachers to create a healthier classroom. School Bites created this Healthy Classrooms Initiative that includes resources and ideas you can use in your own school.

Good luck, have fun, and be part of the change!

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No Child Should Go Hungry This Summer: Here’s How To Help!

May 26, 2014

Throughout the school year, 21 million children depend on free or reduced-price school lunch for reliable nutrition. But, what happens to those kids when they go on summer break? The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program provides free lunch (and sometimes breakfast) to children at 42,000 sites across the country during the summer months. This federally […]

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A Healthy Treat For Teacher Appreciation Week

May 20, 2014

Looking for a way to make a teacher’s day? Look what the parents at my children’s school did for Teacher Appreciation Week: They filled a bowl with fresh fruit, attached these adorable notes, and set it out for the staff. The bowl will be refilled all week long. It goes without saying, but teachers rock–and […]

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All About Snacktivism: My Interview in StayBasic Magazine

February 23, 2014

A few years ago, I got fed up with the Kool-Aid and cupcakes my son was getting after soccer games and vowed to make a change. I began talking to coaches and parents about providing fruit for post-game snacks instead–or even nixing snacks altogether (read: “What If Soccer Snacks Just Went Away?“). One day, a […]

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In Praise of Food Activism, Big & Small

February 18, 2014

Have you noticed that regular people are doing some very big stuff? Vani Hari (aka Food Babe) gets the attention of major food companies by exposing some of the questionable ingredients in their products–and demanding they do better. In response to her widely-circulated blog posts, Chik-fil-A is removing artificial dyes from its sauces and dressings […]

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A Call for Candy-Free Valentines

February 4, 2014

Remember Valentine’s Day as a kid? If your school was anything like mine, you found an old shoebox, cut a slot in the top, and decorated it with paper doilies and puffy heart stickers. You stationed it on your desk at school and made the rounds in the classroom, giggling and dropping valentines in your […]

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10 Food-Free Ways to Celebrate School Birthdays

October 28, 2013

I love cupcakes as much as the next person. I have sweet memories of the birthday cupcakes my mom made for me when I was a child (read “For the Love of Cupcakes“), and I’m sure that some years, she brought those cupcakes to school. But for better or worse, cupcakes at school are on […]

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Will The Real “Healthy Snack” Please Stand Up?

September 23, 2013

I’ve been known to gripe about the state of kids’ snacks (read: “Snacktivism“). I’m so tired of Fruit Roll-Ups, Capri Suns, and Cheez-Its being trotted out for every. single. kid-related. event. And I’m thrilled when I see parents, school administrators, church leaders, and coaches asking for better quality snacks–especially now at the start of the […]

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5 Positively Inspiring School Wellness Ideas

May 9, 2013

This week, I attended the 2013 Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Ohio Summit hosted by Ohio Action for Healthy Kids and came home inspired by and impressed with the amazing things being done in schools around Ohio and beyond. I wanted to share some of the innovative ideas I heard. Perhaps some of them will […]

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