1. Provide one selection from each of the five food groups.
2. Contain no more than one item from the nutritionally lacking category.
3. Include high-fiber foods.
4. Have a reduced fat content.
5. Be a meal your child will eat and actually enjoy!
From healthy snack mixes to wacky lollipops, check out our editors’ favorite finds to ensure your kids will love what’s in their lunchboxes.
2 of 10Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro
This batch of goodies may be made with no nuts, eggs, or dairy (perfect for children with food allergies), but you’d never know when you taste them. We also gave the desserts praise for super-cute packaging, commenting that they’d make excellent teacher gifts.
Find them:Divvies Caramel Corn, Jelly Beans, and Cupcakes
3 of 10Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro
Organic Fruit Drinks
Your little ones will enjoy these kid-sized fruit drinks and the fun flavor options (such as Appley Ever After and Super Fruit Punch). You’ll enjoy that the sippers are certified organic and kosher, low in sugar, and provide 100% of daily vitamin C.
Your kids will be the coolest in class when they show off these customized cookies to classmates. Sneak them in on a birthday, after a good report card, or just to say “I love you” (any picture can be added to these treats). Be sure to check out other confections such as chocolate-dipped pretzels, Oreos, and Mini Rice Krispies Treats.
Small but mighty, one yogurt cup gives your child plenty of calcium, vitamin D, and protein to last them till the bell rings. Be on the lookout for this new kid-friendly line, with flavors such as Honeynana and Verryberry.
The saying “Mom knows best.” definitely applies here. These crunchy creations are inspired by a mom’s favorite childhood after-school snack. And because she is a breast cancer survivor, a percentage of all sales go to cancer research.
Plain peanut butter is so last school year. Change up the lunchbox routine by letting your kids try (gluten- and dairy-free) hazelnut, almond, or flavored peanut butters. The single-serving packs let kids spread the butter on bread and graham crackers, or squeeze straight in their mouths.
After finishing a nutritious lunch, reward the youngsters with something sweet to suck on. The lollipops come in a wide selection of colors, themes, and shapes, so you’re sure to find some to put smiles on those little faces. For the lunchbox, we suggest the new back-to-school collection.
Get your kids to drink their milk by adding a little magic. These chocolate straws are just right for mini milk cartons at school. When milk is sipped through the straw, it passes by cocoa beads, adding the chocolaty flavor to the milk without a mess.
Instead of a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce, this list is simple: fruit. Individual packs of dried cherries, apples, and bananas (plus more!) give you the opportunity to expose young taste buds to new fruits and textures. Find a favorite, and get a family pack for road trips or weekend outings.