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Back-to-School Recess Snacks

Back-to-School Recess Snacks

Your kids will be the envy of the class with these snacks

Give your kids the boost they need for a mid-day refresher when they head back-to-school!

Do you have a little one who is looking forward to get back to school for recess? We’re about to help you look like a rock-star parent. When your kids head back to school from a summer full of lazy days, recess seems like a truly magical time. During recess, they get a few minutes to recharge their brains and relax before hitting the books again. While you’ve already given them a healthy breakfast, they need a snack that isn’t full of fat that will slow them down during the day. They need a snack that will make them happy and re-energize them. These healthy and delicious recess snack ideas will make heading back to school a whole lot easier.

Healthy Muffins

Sure, your kids would love a cupcake for their midday snack, but we promise a healthy muffin will do the trick! Sneak fruits, grains, nuts, and oats into these homemade goodies that will last you at least a week or two after baking.

Peanut Butter Pretzels

Scoop out a few tablespoons of peanut butter and set aside in soufflé cups. Portion out hard pretzel sticks in snack bags. Keep them in an accessible cabinet so the kids can grab the peanut butter and pretzels in a snap.

Pre-Cut Vegetables

Having pre-cut vegetables at the ready can transform your child’s snack time. Spending an extra 20 minutes in the morning chopping up refrigerator-friendly produce could save you a ton of time when the kids are in a super munchy mood. Slice (and skin when appropriate) vegetables like celery, bell peppers, and carrots, which pair well with a variety of dips.

Inspiration: 40 Snack Ideas for a Healthy Lunchbox

Do you ever get stuck for ideas when you need healthy snacks to fill your child’s daycare, preschool or school lunchbox? So many pre-packaged snacks are loaded with additives, preservatives, salt and sugar so it can be hard to find a healthy alternative that travels well and still tastes delicious. When we get stuck for inspiration, there’s no better inspiration than the community of One Handed Cooks on our Facebook page.

Earlier we asked, “Share your favourite healthy lunchbox snack ideas!”

Here are the fab responses for your own inspiration, and we’ve linked so some of our own recipes that you might like to try.

40 Healthy Lunchbox Snack Ideas

  1. Muffins – 30 sweet and savoury muffin ideas
  2. Biscuits – 18 healthy biscuit ideas
  3. Smoothies – 20 healthy smoothie ideas (best frozen to thaw out by recess time) (observe all safe allergy precautions and school regulations when including nuts) (observe all safe allergy precautions and school regulations when including nuts)
  4. Sulphur free dried fruit mix
  5. 3 bean mix
  6. Vegetable and cheese sticks with dip with pita bread
  7. Corn on cob
  8. Piklets/pancakes
  9. Fresh fruit cut up – with some lemon brushed over them to stop browning
  10. “shapes” or flat bread and avocado dip
  11. Homemade sushi rolls
  12. Mac and cheese muffins
  13. Vegetable fried rice with a side of omelette
  14. Bread sticks
  15. Popcorn
  16. Chicken noodle soup which they take in a mini flask (Lunchbox doctor)
  17. Fruit bread
  18. Mini quiche
  19. Coleslaw

See more information on packing a nutritious and safe travelling lunch box. Keep an eye out for our ‘Back to School’ Magazine for a whole range of fabulous healthy back-to-school ideas.

Class Act: Healthy Snack Ideas to Bring to School

Help your little ones and their classmates snack smarter this year.

Related To:


Healthy fruits and nuts snack box with oranges, apples, kiwi,walnuts, hazelnuts, and crackers viewed from above (Healthy fruits and nuts snack box with oranges, apples, kiwi,walnuts, hazelnuts, and crackers viewed from above, ASCII, 112 components, 11

When it comes to bringing snacks in for your kids’ class, fun and nutritious don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Here are some tips and A-plus snack suggestions to keep kids’ bodies and brains fueled well past recess when they're in school. Bonus: Many of these healthy snack ideas are also portable, making them ideal for on-the-go snacking, travelling, eating at work or stashing in a backpack.

Eat to fuel your brain

Carla Contreras, a New Jersey-based chef, certified holistic health coach and mom of two, says that snacks should contain a mix of healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein to help keep kids fuller longer and maintain sustained energy — and that includes energy for your brain. “Your brain needs calories,” she says. “It burns about 20 percent of your calories per day.”

One of Contreras’ go-to smart snacks is homemade trail mix, especially ones that include a mix of healthy fats and hit the sweet-salty-spicy trifecta. Her favorite combination includes whole almonds, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, wasabi peas and salted and roasted pepitas. Whip up a big batch, then let the teacher divvy out the mix to kids at school (you may like to omit the wasabi peas for younger palates).

Make school party snacks special

If you’re assigned snack duty for a class party, make healthy snacking feel fun and celebratory with mix-and-match options. Diana Reid, a registered dietitian-nutritionist, owner of The Global Dietitian and mom of three, suggests:

  • Crudité plate with dips Include a rainbow of cut-up veggies including bell peppers, carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes, to serve with a variety of dips like hummus, tzatziki and ranch dressing.
  • Fresh fruit plate with yogurt dips Cut up fruit such as apples, bananas and strawberries, then serve with an assortment of yogurt-based dips such as chocolate, key lime or apple-and-cinnamon. Add a few crumbled graham crackers to the dip or serve squares on the side for added crunch.
  • Apple “nachos” Slice apples and fan them out around a plate, then drizzle with school-approved nut butter and chocolate. Serve with DIY toppings like shredded coconut, diced strawberries and mini chocolate chips.

Nothing is totally off-limits

In her personal nutrition coaching practice, Reid never says “never” when she’s advising clients on their diet. Still, she explains that many packaged snacks can be nutritionally challenging some are too high in sodium or fat and some are nothing but carbs. Instead of ruling out some of your kids’ and classmates’ favorite (and convenient) packaged snacks like crackers, granola bars or popcorn, incorporate a small amount along with some nutritious options that fit the “mini meal” model (see below). Some of Reid’s favorite combinations that incorporate carbs, protein, a little fat and a bit of fiber include:

  • Small handful of Goldfish crackers + one string cheese stick and a few apple slices
  • Beef jerky (ideally one lower in sodium) + fruit
  • Single-serving packet of trail mix + a handful of carrot sticks
  • Protein bar + one piece of fruit
  • Granola bar + one piece of cheese
  • Kefir or yogurt drink + a small handful of veggies or apple slices

Treat snacks like mini meals

Reid likes to treat snacks like a mini meal.

“I think it’s best to always include some protein in a snack, as it helps with satiety and keeps you from getting hungry again in an hour,” she explains. “Snacks are also a great way to get in one of your “5-a-day” fruits and veggies. I usually have clients pick one high-protein food and one fruit or veg as a snack.”

Some of her favorite combinations include: a hard-boiled egg and a granola bar Greek yogurt and fruit nut butter with sliced apples or hummus with veggies.

Though it takes a little extra leg work, making your own snack staples helps you control the quality of the ingredients and keep sugar and sodium levels in check. Here are some of our favorites, guaranteed to send you to the head of the class.

Trisha’s no-cook energy bites come together easily in a food processor — the longest part is waiting for the mix to chill before forming them into balls. The oat-based balls get a protein boost and satisfying texture from extra-crunchy peanut butter.

2 of 14

Apple Twist

Unsweetened applesauce, fruit cups, and canned fruit have a long shelf life and are low-cost, easy, and healthy if canned in juice or light syrup. Examples of unsweetened applesauce include Mott's Natural Style and Mott's Healthy Harvest line. Dole and Del Monte offer a variety of single-serve fruit bowls.

To spice up your kid's snack, make these classics a little, well, cooler. Freeze small containers of unsweetened applesauce overnight for a slushy treat &ndash and a serving of fruit. Or do the same with low-fat yogurt.

Back to school snacks

I was wondering if it would even be necessary to include an introduction to this great big snack round-up. I sort-of think not. I mean, even if you don&rsquot have kids heading back to school, you&rsquoll appreciate all these yummy, healthy, clever, inspired snack recipes all right here. Right? Thank you to all of the recipe developers and photographers who contributed!

1. Amy and Areen Graham Coconut Nut Granola Bars

2. Bakeaholic Mama Maple Beet Sweet Potato Chips

9. Reclaiming Provincial Savory Pop Tarts

10. Running to the Kitchen Apricot Almond Butter Snack Bites

11. Knead to Cook Oatmeal Fiber Energy Balls

13. I love my monthly NatureBox delivery

14. Knead to Cook Clean Cherry Walnut Granola Bars

18. Healthy Seasonal Recipes Low-Fat Ranch Dip

19. How Sweet it Is Brown Sugar Lemon Mascarpone Muffins

23. Cabot Creamery Cooperative Nutty Monkey Smoothie

24. Healthy Aperture Blog (Don&rsquot miss this post!) Chocolate Walnut Bars

26 King Arthur Flour Heavenly Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Bread

28. Healthy Green Kitchen Grilled Eggplant and Cilantro Dip

29. Healthy Seasonal Recipes Home-made applesauce

30. Reclaiming Provincial (for grown-ups and kids who can handle a bit of heat!) Sriracha Coconut Popcorn with Smoked Sea Salt

31. Adventures in Cooking Autumn Brittle

33. Food Babbles Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

34. Spiced Blog (this one is a bit spicy too) Spicy Maple Cinnamon Roasted almonds

36. The Kitchn Roasted Edamame

37. Leek and Parmesan Muffins

40 Kind Healthy Snacks Sweet and Salty Flavors

I hope you found some recipes in here to inspire you. Are you ready for back to school? What is your favorite healthy lunchbox snack?

Easy Lunch Box Ideas for Back to School

1. Make Ahead Cold Lunches

I love this idea! Everything is placed in separate plastic bags, and then all you have to do is grab the ones you want and stick them in the lunch box. Easy Peasy!

2. Lunch Packing Ideas

Okay, this is more organized than I will ever be! She has photographed every lunch she has made for her kids for a year, and no two are exactly the same. And she has two sets of twins!

3. DIY Lunchables

When it comes to cold lunch, my son is just about as happy with a lunchable as with anything! Sometimes I buy them in bulk at Sam&rsquos Club. They work great for after-school snacks, also. But here are some you can make yourself. They&rsquore probably healthier AND cheaper!

4. 2 Weeks of No-Sandwich Lunch Box Ideas

Here are a bunch more ideas for non-sandwich lunches. I know my son would especially appreciate the breakfast-for-lunch idea!

5. Back To School Healthy Lunch Ideas

When my older son was still in school, I felt like he was getting a healthier lunch if he ate hot lunch. He has always been a very picky eater, and most of what I offered he didn&rsquot like. So he usually ate hot lunch. But with these ideas, you can send your child off with a healthy cold lunch every day!

6. 7+ Deliciously Creative Lunch Ideas for Kids

Here are some more creative ideas for the picky eaters!

7. School Lunch Ideas for Tweens and Teens

If you&rsquore in the stage of life that we&rsquore in right now, your kids might be wanting something that is a little more grown-up. Here are some lunch ideas for tweens and teens.

8. 2 Weeks of No-Sandwich Lunch Box Ideas

Above, you saw 2 weeks of no-sandwich lunch box ideas. Well, here are 2 MORE weeks of no-sandwich lunch box ideas!

9. Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

Amy at Belly Full wants her kids to spend a little more time eating their lunch before they head out to recess, so she tries to make her lunches very creative so her kids will want to eat everything in their box. Check out her ideas!

10. Creative Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

Here are some more ideas for those picky eaters in your family!

11. 11 Tried and True Lunch Box Hacks

I just love some of these creative ideas for making cold lunch preparation so much easier. I would have never thought of some of them!

12. Meal Prep: How to Pack School Lunches on Sunday That Stay Fresh All Week!

Blair from The Seasoned Mom has it all figured out when it comes to making cold lunches! She even offers a printable to help you do the same!

13. 50 Tips, Tricks and Ideas for Packing Great School Lunches

Here are a bunch more hacks for making lunch box preparation a lot easier.

14. Simplify the Lunch Box Routine with These 5 Great Ideas!

Here are a few more ideas to make lunch box prep so much easier. I love the idea of placing everything on a cart (and I REALLY love the cart!), and just wheeling it out of the pantry when it&rsquos time to make lunches.

15. DIY Lunchbox Creation Station

This is another really great idea for simplifying things. This station solves two problems: it puts some of the responsibility on the kids for lunch prep, and it makes it easier for Mom to do inventory and see what she needs to stock up on. Win-win!

16. 50+ Ideas for Lunch on a Stick

If your kids love eating their food off of a stick, here are some great ideas for cold lunches on a stick!

17. 5 Back to School Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas

If you have kids that are on a strict diet, here are some ideas for lunches that are gluten-free&mdashyet still tasty!

18. 12 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Kids or Adults

Melissa from Bless This Mess has some good ideas for making lunch box prep easier, as well as some suggestions that will work for kids AND adults.

19. Lunch Box Ideas for Kids Who Don&rsquot Like Sandwiches

My son is a huge lover of Spaghettios and Ramen (I mean, I think he could live on Ramen!). I had gotten my husband a soup thermos a few years ago, and so for a while, my son was taking Spaghettios, Ramen, and sometimes Chili (he also loves his Chili!), for lunch in the soup thermos. He was never a real huge fan of school hot lunches (I don&rsquot know too many kids that are!), so that gave him a nice break. Here are some lunches that are a little different from your typical cold lunch!

20. 20 More Kid-Friendly Lunches

And if you don&rsquot already have enough ideas, here are 20 more! Some of these, I think, would taste better warmed up, but then, I&rsquove never been a cold pizza kind of girl. So maybe it doesn&rsquot matter with kids! If they do have access to a microwave, these will be great!

I hope this gives you some really good ideas for packing those cold lunches this year! My son thinks he&rsquos going to be making trips to Little Caesar&rsquos (it&rsquos right across the street from where he&rsquoll be attending high school this year!). I told him that&rsquos not going to happen very often, since he doesn&rsquot have a job!

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2. Seedy slice

A quick and easy seedy slice recipe that the whole family will love. Photo: Bianca Slade

"This one seldom makes it into the kids' lunchboxes because myself and the man of the house like it a little too much!" laughs Slade. "It is all the goodness of healthy seeds in a delicious crunchy slice."

3. No blend nut-free bliss balls

"This is one of our all-time favourite recipes," says Slade. "It takes only minutes to make with one bowl, a few ingredients and very little mess. The result is divine! The kids will enjoy it as much as the adults do!"

4. Not quite Jersey caramels

"With only two primary ingredients – desiccated coconut and Medjool dates - and a few spare minutes, our take on the classic Jersey caramels are a perfect treat to whip up when you are pressed for time," says Slade, who will be releasing her new digital cookbook on October 1. "Kids love them as a sweet and healthy treat in their lunchbox."

Back-to-school lunch and snack recipes for under a $1

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- You can pay upwards of $3 a day for your kids to buy lunch at school.

But according to Houston Moms Blog co-owner Meagan Clanahan, you can pack a lunch for under $1 a day.

"Buy bulk cheese, nitrate-free turkey and ham meat. Slice it up yourself. It doesn't take any time," Clanahan said.

Add some fruit and yogurt, and you're done.

You can also create a healthy twist on the lunchable for your kids.

"This is my play on the pizza lunchables that everybody loves. I like to take these mini bagel bites, pizza sauce in the middle and some mozzarella cheese and homemade blueberry muffins," Clanahan explained.

Another way to pack this lunch is using the same pizza ingredients.

"We used the same bagel bites, and just put some pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, put them in the oven about 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes," Clanahan said.

She suggests always adding fruit that you know your kids will eat and not toss out. Clanahan also recommends a nice twist on your everyday sandwich.

"Your store brand name tortillas, put store brand name cream cheese, and turkey so repurposing for that and wrap up a little cucumber and wrap it like a sushi roll," she said.

Clanahan also loves the YUMBOX. It's a leak proof and dishwasher safe Bento lunch box container. You can find it on Amazon for $20 - $30.

Trail mix and monster energy balls are simple and easy to make and your children will love them.

Clanahan makes homemade trail mix because buying straight from the store can get expensive.

"I bought a box of cereal -- cinnamon Chex -- mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips," Clanahan said.

Mix these three ingredients together and you have a fun s'mores-style trail mix your kids will eat up.

Another perfect snack for the picky eaters are monster energy balls.

"They think they're getting sweets. It is actually a monster energy ball. It has really good stuff in it. Super delicious for that extra energy burst they need to get through the school day," Clanahan said.

All you need for this recipe is peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips, raisins, flax seeds and honey. Mix it all up and roll into a ball. Refrigerate them for 20 minutes and they are ready to eat!

Help the kids stay energized with this recipe for monster energy balls.

4 cups Cinnamon Chex Cereal
1.5 cups Mini Marshmallows
1 cup Chocolate chips
Simply mix in a plastic bag and store.

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup peanut butter may also sub for other nut butters like sunflower or almond if your school is peanut free
1/2 cup mini M&Ms or small chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey
** can also add up to 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed and/or 1 tbsp chia seeds
Place in bowl and mix well until the ingredients are combined. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands, roll into golf ball size. Once all are rolled, place in the fridge for two hours to allow the oats to soften. Then they are ready to eat! Store in a Ziploc bag in the the fridge for up to five days.

Turkey Wraps
8 tortillas
1 8 oz container of spreadable cream cheese (plain or garden veggie works great could also use hummus)
Nitrate-free turkey slices from the deli
Thinly sliced cucumber
Spread approximately 1- 1 1/2 tbsp of cream cheese on your wrap/tortilla. Layer turkey then cucumber. Roll tightly and then cut each wrap in half and then each half in half, making four even pieces.

20 Lunch Box Snack Ideas + Free Printable! Fridge List

As a new school Mum about to embark on her first foray into preparing school lunches, I thought it would be useful to compile a list of quick and easy snack suggestions for recess (or ‘little’ lunch) to hang inside my pantry door. Of course, because I am a sharing kind of gal, I have included a printable (black and white) version of this Snack Suggestion list for you to download for your own pantry or fridge door (it even includes some extra spaces for you to add your child’s favourite snacks).

Click on the picture below to download your copy.

To print: Click on the image above to open the PDF file. Select download. Open the document and print. Please note, to print you may need to select “Fit to printable area” (or similar) depending upon your printer type and local paper size.

P.S. In case you were wondering about my thinking behind the ‘easy to eat’ fruit, as a teacher I have observed many children who just want to go and play with their friends but instead are left behind sitting eating a large apple or struggling to peel an orange both of which can take forever for children (or alternatively, three quarters of the fruit ends up in the rubbish bin). Kids would much rather be playing than eating.


Christie Burnett is an early childhood teacher, presenter, writer and the editor of Childhood 101. More importantly, she is a Mum who believes wholeheartedly in the value of children learning through play, the importance of quality early education, and the togetherness of family.

Back to school smart snacks

Students need good nutritious food to power through the school day. We all know breakfast is important, but snacks can be equally beneficial between meals. Registered Dietitian Robin Brown from the Midwest Dairy Council visited the ABC 7 State Street Studios to give some smart snack recipes.

Permission to use the following recipes provided by Midwest Dairy Association.
Name of dish: Chocolate berry smoothie

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes

1-1/4 cups fat-free chocolate milk
1 cup frozen mixed berries without sugar (blackberries, blueberries and raspberries)
1 container fat-free mixed berry Greek yogurt (5.3 ounces)

Combine chocolate milk, frozen berries and yogurt in a blender. Blend until creamy. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 206
Cholesterol: 3mg
Sodium: 173mg
Potassium: 105mg
Total Carbohydrates: 37g
Dietary Fiber: 8g
Sugars: 26g
Protein: 15g

Servings: 10
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

2 cups whole grain square cereal

2 cuts honey-sweetened oat cereal
2-1/2 ounces pretzel sticks (about 3 cups)
cup sunflower seed kernels
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola water
1 tablespoon water
cup sugar
teaspoon ground cinnamon
cup dried cranberries or raisins or dried cherries
1 package reduced-fat Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese cubes (8 ounces)

Preheat oven to 325F. Mix cereals, pretzel sticks and sunflower seed kernels in large bowl set aside.

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat stir in oil, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat stir in cinnamon and mix well. Pour over cereal mixture stir until evenly coated.

Spread into 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes (be careful not to overcook). Spread on waxed paper or aluminum foil cool completely.

Toss with dried cranberries or raisins or dried cherries store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Toss in cheese cubes just before serving.

Nutritional Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 436
Total Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 15mg
Sodium: 745mg
Potassium: 252mg
Total Carbohydrates: 73g
Dietary Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 26g
Protein: 10g

Servings: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes

1 cup nonfat light vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
4 pretzel twists crumbled (about 1 tablespoon)
1 banana sliced

In a small bowl, mix yogurt and peanut butter together. In a separate bowl, toss walnuts and pretzels together.

In a tall glass, begin to build parfait. Layer cup yogurt, half of banana slices and 1 tablespoon of walnut/pretzel mixture. Repeat layers. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 561
Total Fat: 18g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Sodium: 332mg
Potassium: 514mg
Total Carbohydrates: 88g
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Sugars: 56g
Protein: 19g
Calcium: 41% Daily Value

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