For some families, snacks are seen as unhealthy treats - think packets of crisps, cakes, chocolate bars and biscuits. But there are plenty of other options your kids can eat when they’re hungry which aren’t full of salt or sugar.
As children prepare to head back to school, parents are starting to think about healthier alternatives to their lunch-break snacks that aren’t just fruit.
With advice from NHS’ Change for Life campaign and nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed, we’ve come up with 9 interesting snacks your kids can take to school, or that you can have ready for when they come home and say those two dreaded words: “I’m huuuuuungry.”
Chopped vegetables and low-fat hummus
Mix this up by chopping up different vegetables into strips including cucumber, peppers and carrots. Opt for a healthier low-fat hummus. If this is a treat for school, get a lunchbox with compartments to separate out the dip from the veg.
Frozen grapes and banana
This is great for a break-time snack at school, as the fruit is likely to still be cold, although it might be worth putting it in with a lunchbox freezer block. If you have small children, cut the grapes in half for safety.
Freeze different fruits and see what your kids like best (banana also works well). Putting the sliced grapes on the end of cocktail sticks may also make it more fun for your little one to eat.
Crunchy roasted chickpeas
Roast chickpeas in the oven along with seasoning of your choice - salt, pepper or even cinnamon. Add a small bit of olive oil and cook for around 30 minutes. You can batch-make loads of these and put them in pots for a snack during the school day.
You can buy this from the supermarket (Hartley’s does a sugar-free version) or you can make your own at home (here’s a good recipe) and even sneak some fruit segments in there.
[READ MORE: What’s The Formula For The Perfect Lunchbox?]
Malt loaf slice
The NHS recommends swapping cakes for malt loaf as it contains a lot less fat and sugar than the average sweet loaf. You can make your own if you’re a fan of baking, or just buy Soreen loaves.
Natural yoghurt with fruit segments
Natural and greek yoghurt is a better alternative to many fruit-flavoured yoghurts which have a high percentage of sugar. Add your little one’s favourite fruit to make for a tasty snack.
Spiced apple crisps
Cut up an apple into thin slices and sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Bake in the oven for around an hour, turning them over half-way through. Pretty easy, but there’s a great recipe here to follow.
You can pick up cheap boxes of popcorn ready to microwave in supermarkets - salted will be healthier than sweet and/or butter. Alternatively, many brands have ready-made healthier popcorn options such as Propercorn, Nude Popcorn Company and Metcalfe’s.
Corn on the cob
Lots of kids enjoy corn on the cob as a snack. Make it flavoursome by squeezing lime and/or lemon before grilling. Cut up into smaller segments to make it easier for them to eat.
Correction: This piece has been updated to add in the fact that it is safer for smaller children to eat grapes that have been cut in half.