Kids Toddler Lunch Snack Healthy Food Ideas for After School

Whether it’s for school, holiday enrichment camp or even an outing with friends, it is always a good idea to pack some extra snacks in your child’s bag (just in case).

Growing kids need the energy and nutrients that these snacks provide to get them through the day (especially the little ones). As a mom it is important that their snacks are helping to fuel their day and not actually holding them back. The last thing you want is for your little one to be hungry and lose focus.

Every day in addition to buying or packing school lunch, my boys also need to take a morning and afternoon snack to school. I try to get as creative and healthy as I possibly can, but packing snacks daily can be bit of a challenge (especially early in the morning).

Kids Toddler Lunch Snack Healthy Food Ideas for After School

Here are some tips for packing school snacks…

Get Creative. Give your child what they like to eat. Who cares if it is not your traditional snack time food.

Don’t pack snacks with “No Nutritional Value”. Snacks with little or no nutritional value should not be sent to school. These can be saved for an afterschool or weekend treat.

Easy to eat, with not too much mess. Think bite size and small portions when preparing snacks.

Try to keep it simple. Unless you have extra time, no need to stress yourself out with cut out shapes and fancy designs – the snacks just get eaten anyways. If you do want to do something quick & special, try using stickers or post-it notes with cute messages.

Get a Reusable Snack Bag/Box. Buy more than one in case it accidentally gets left at school or you are too busy to wash it.

Label The Snacks. Make sure you label the snacks with your child’s name.

Pack Low Sugar & Low Sodium Snacks. Make sure the snacks are low in sugar. The last thing you want is a sugar high and then a crash once it wears off. Additionally, prepackaged snacks are fine (and many are super healthy & easy to pack for busy moms), but just be on the look out for the amount of sodium.

Keep Utensils to a Minimum. Snack-time is usually very quick. You want to ensure your child is actually eating food and not playing with or looking for utensils.

Use an Ice-Pack.  Figure out how long the snack last without the need for refrigeration and buy a reusable ice-pack if necessary. Some snack containers also come with a built in ice-pack.

Use a Thermos for Hot Foods. Normally snack-time is a quick bite and usually cold – but there are no real rules. So if the snack is meant to be hot, make sure to use a thermos or metal container. Food that is meant to be hot, just doesn’t taste the same cold.

Don’t Overpack. Be careful not to pack too many snacks, otherwise it may spoil their lunch. You know your child the best and know how many snacks they need.

Afternoon Snacks Should Not Require Refrigeration. Pack the snack separately so your kids can differentiate between the morning and afternoon snacks. Super Tip: The afternoon snack should be able to last for at least 5 hours without refrigeration or an ice-pack (so no cheese, cut fruits, yogurt, etc).

Don’t Forget to Pack A Napkin If there is no napkin, your child will probably use their shirt to wipe their mouth (like my kids – lol).

Kids Toddler Lunch Snack Healthy Food Ideas for After School

Here is a handy list of 45+ Snack Ideas to help you out…

  1. Cut Veggies (dipping sauce optional)
  2. Fresh Fruits
  3. Veggie Chips
  4. Fruit Chips
  5. Cheese Sticks/Cubes
  6. Deli Meat
  7. Granola Bars
  8. Yogurt
  9. Applesauce
  10. Sandwich / Wrap – With so many varieties to choose from a sandwich can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. In case you are stuck for choices here are a few: ham, cheese, cucumber, turkey, pb&j, Tuna, egg, BLT, club, etc.
  11. Pretzels
  12. Baked Crackers
  13. Breakfast Cereal Bars
  14. Dry (healthy) Cereal
  15. Nuts – Nuts are a high fiber, protein filled snack. But many schools are nut-free schools. So make sure you check before sending a bag of nuts. Also, opt for the baked and unsalted variety of nuts. Make sure to read the ingredients on the package.
  16. Nut & Fruit Energy Bars
  17. Freeze Dried Fruits – Dried fruits are a great afternoon snack option, just make sure that there is no sugar added. Still getting your serving of fruit, but no need to add an ice-pack or worry about spoilage.
  18. Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds
  19. Fruit Snacks
  20. Bagel w/ Cream Cheese
  21. Bagel Bites
  22. Toaster Pastry
  23. Sausage Roll
  24. Croissant
  25. Graham Crackers
  26. Popcorn
  27. Healthy Cookies
  28. Dried Beans
  29. Muffins
  30. Raisins
  31. Trail Mix
  32. Granola
  33. Mini Quiche
  34. Sushi / Cucumber Rolls
  35. Vietnamese Spring Rolls (not fried)
  36. Dumplings
  37. Mini-Baked Samosas
  38. Pita Chips w/ Hummus
  39. Pasta Salad
  40. Curry Puff
  41. Fried Rice
  42. Noodles
  43. Mini-Pizza Bites
  44. Mini Fruit/Veggie Pancakes
  45. Hard Boiled Egg (Peeled)
  46. Sausage/Hot Dog Bites
  47. Rice Balls – You can use quinoa, couscous or another healthy grain to make these)
  48. Flavored Bread (banana, raisin, cranberry, etc.)
  49. Fruit/Veggie Smoothie
  50. Snack Mix – Make your own at home mixing a few of your kids favorites (nuts, dried fruits, crackers, popcorn, etc.

These are just a few ideas to get you started in the kitchen. Feel free to get creative and change your snacks around daily. I am sure your our kids will let you know what they like and don’t like.

If you have any snack ideas you would like to add to the list, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below. 🙂

Happy Snacking!