As most of you will agree, the back-to-school period is a crazy emotional rollercoaster. But once all the preparations are done and our children start hopping on the school bus every morning, we can finally relax — and start worrying about other things!
With our kids out of the house almost every day, a lot of us are concerned about the quality and healthfulness of their school lunches and snacks. Now that we know how unhealthy packaged sweets and processed foods are, shifting towards nutritious foods has become indispensable, and good habits start at home. But on the other hand, mornings can get way too hectic for us to even think about making something nourishing that our children would love.
Well, one way of tackling this issue is to prepare homemade snacks the night before. With more time to plan ahead, you’ll be able to make delicious wholesome nibbles that can boost your kids’ health, immune system and performance at school. This would also make your mornings less stressful, and let you enjoy your precious cup of coffee for a bit longer.
To make things easier, write up a list of ideas that you can regularly refer to and adapt with time. And be sure to mix and match for a varied selection — the more varied it is, the more thrilling it will be for your kids to discover the snack of the day.
After a lot of research and trials, I finally came up with a list I was happy with. It has a delightful variety of healthy, convenient and easy to prepare snacks that my kids love:
1- A mix of nuts and dried fruits: You can buy ready-made bags or create any healthy assortment your children might like. Mine are crazy about almonds and pine nuts, which are full of nutrients like protein and healthy fats. I only need to add some raisins and dried fruit to create the perfect energetic mix. You can also choose different combinations every time to make it more exciting for them.
2- Homemade cookies or muffins: They’re delicious and made with all-natural quality ingredients. Oatmeal Honey Cookies and Anise Cookies are my children’s favorites, so we often make them together at home.
3- Fresh fruits: A banana, an apple, a pear or any selection of fruits that are practical to carry to school. You can even make a fresh seasonal fruit salad from time to time.
4- Nut Granola: This crunchy treat tastes amazing for the whole family, plus it’s loaded with nutrients and keeps your little ones full for longer. You can find many brands of granola in the market, just look for natural ones that are low in sugar, have no fillers and are made with high-quality oils. But of course, nothing beats a homemade nut granola. They’re the healthiest, and they’re truly made with love!
5- Vegetable sticks: Sticks of raw carrots and cucumbers make up the best veggie snack for school. You can also include cherry tomatoes, celery and steamed broccoli (if they don’t mind the taste of course).
6- Overnight oats: An oatmeal porridge or pudding prepared overnight is perfect for their first break, which takes place around breakfast time.
7- The occasional biscuits: I’d let my children bring their preferred brand of biscuits once a week. Because let’s face it, many schoolmates share their food, and you can’t expect them to never get tempted by the sweets and packaged snack foods that “everyone else has”. Besides, completely banning them could make your kids see healthy snacks as a punishment and eventually develop a counter-reaction.
8- Nutritious sandwiches: You can fill them with the ingredients of your choice, but try prioritizing those that last longer at room temperature, like hard or semi-hard cheeses (Cheddar, Gouda, or Swiss cheese) for example.
Preparing simple and wholesome school snacks the night before is a great way to make your mornings easier and stress-free, especially if you have a solid list of ideas to choose from. Feel free to use the one I’ve just shared with you, or create your own customized list according to your and your family’s preferences.
In any case, keep in mind that the food you eat has a direct impact on your mood, health and state of mind. In other words, “you are what you eat”, so make sure to fill your kid’s lunchbox with snacks that taste great and are nourishing as well. Moreover, a healthy, varied diet combined with the right habits are guaranteed to naturally boost their immune system.