With the back-to-school season upon us, many parents are looking for simple and cheap ways to get their kids eating nutritious food – that’s why we’ll be sharing 3 simple snack swaps that make for healthy lunchbox ideas or after school snacks for kids.
As the consumption of highly-processed foods increase, obesity rates increase too – and we’re not just talking about adults here, kids are seeing record-high rates of the widespread chronic disease. Obesity rates are sitting at an all-time high of 13% globally, and one of the difficult parts here is the addictive nature of sugar – that’s why you’ll want to keep the sweet stuff out of your kids’ lunchboxes to prevent them from falling into the cycle of cravings – sugar has been found to be more addictive than drugs like cocaine. This is because it triggers the reward system in the brain, leaving us thinking about that next high. This is especially damaging for kids as they already have the difficult job of focusing on school work, keeping up with extracurriculars and juggling social challenges. Giving them wholesome lunches and snacks is the best way to prevent brain fog and to optimise their memory and learning function.
So, we’ve compiled a number of healthy lunchbox ideas for kids to swap ultra-processed snacks out for. It is possible for your kids’ school snacks to be nutritious and tasty without leaning on junk food. Here are 3 swaps to get the little ones eating healthy lunchbox snacks this back-to-school season.
Swap chips for cucumber sticks
Instead of throwing a bag of chips into the kids’ lunchbox, it’s worth opting for cucumber sticks or other crunchy veggies like carrot, celery and capsicum. These all have that satisfying crunch we associate with chips, without the inflammatory hydrogenated vegetable oils, added sugars and excess salt you’ll find in your usual bag of potato crisps! Plus, raw veggies pair well with dips like guacamole, tzatziki and hummus for a well-rounded snack. You may even want to pair your veggie sticks with cheese for a balance of nutrients. High in calcium and healthy fats, hard cheese offers an ideal source of bone-strengthening nutrients which also keeps the kids fuller for longer due to the satiating fat and protein content. Swiss cheese, gouda and cheddar are all high in vitamin K, K2 and calcium, the cornerstones of strong bones! Add your cucumber and celery sticks and you’re setting your kids up for an anti-inflammatory powerhouse snack.
Swap juice for whole fruit
If it’s a hot summer’s day and you’re looking to send the kids off to school with a refreshing snack, ditch the sugary fruit juices and opt for water-rich whole fruits instead – watermelon is an ideal option as it boats a 90% water content, not to mention its loaded with potassium to help prevent fluid retention. Whole fruit is a great source of fibre and vitamin C, both of which contribute to healthy blood sugars, digestion and immunity – for instance, kiwis pack in 80% of our daily vitamin C needs in just one serve. Juice, on the other hand, is stripped of fibre, meaning the sugars hit our blood stream much faster and our liver absorbs the fructose at a quicker rate. The result? Blood-sugar spikes and the development of visceral fat; that which wraps around our abdominal organs and puts us at risk for obesity, heart disease and liver disease. Highly-processed juices also lose a number of nutrients in the heating process, making them an overall less beneficial source of vitamins and minerals. Whole fruit satisfies any sweet tooth while providing a good amount of blood-sugar stabilising fibre.
Swap the chocolate milk for yoghurt
Looking to give the kids a calcium boost at lunch? Flavoured milk may seem like a good way to get the kids enjoying dairy, but these drinks are teeming with hidden sugars and preservatives. The colours can also cause inflammation, with recent research revealing that they may play a role in triggering the onset of inflammatory bowel diseases like Chron’s. But that doesn’t mean all yoghurt is a good option, especially considering there are a number of flavoured products on the market which can be just as unhealthy as their milk counterparts. To reap the full benefits of the probiotics in yoghurt, be sure to go for added-sugar free varieties like Greek or natural yoghurt. These types of yoghurt are packed with calcium, protein, vitamin B12 and good bacteria for a healthy gut. This is especially important for your kids’ immunity at school where they’re exposed to a number of pathogens. Other fermented foods like sauerkraut, natto and kefir are all good choices for gut-healthy snacks – as always, check the back of the pack to ensure there are no added sugars in your product.
If you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
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- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!
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