What are the Cheap and Healthy Snacks for School?
Sending your kids to school with sufficient snacks can be crucial for their success.
However, not all snacks are equal, and healthier snacks will do a much better job at fueling your child’s school day. Finding snacks that are healthy alternatives to overly processed or sugary foods but also don’t break the bank is key.
When choosing snacks for school that are both cheap and healthy, look for items that contribute to your child’s daily nutritional needs and items that can be bought in bulk. These include foods such as yogurt, fruits, vegetables, low-calorie dips, and healthy chip-alternatives.
You ultimately want to provide snacks for your children that will help them to stay focused and energized throughout the day. Healthy snacks that provide calcium, protein, fiber, and other daily nutrients are a must. In this article, we will cover 8 snack ideas that are both healthy and cost effective.
8 Snacks that are Cheap and Healthy
When thinking about cheap and healthy snacks to pack for students to take to school, it is important to keep in mind the pickiness of each child. Any foods too far down the health industry niche may be off-putting to kids.
However, serving children healthy snacks is crucial not only for maintaining their health through childhood development, but also for providing the foundation for following healthy lifestyles into their adult lives.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
“Serving healthy snacks to children is important to providing good nutrition, supporting lifelong healthy eating habits, and helping to prevent costly and potentially-disabling diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.”
There are a few things you will want to keep in mind when choosing your snacks, the most important of which is where the snacks will be stored. If you own lunchboxes designed to keep foods cool, this can be a good way to store snacks. Tupperware is also useful in preventing unwanted spillage.
This Bento Box is useful for preparing snacks and meals for my toddler. It can be easily used from preschool up to high school and college.
It’s not just handy for snacks at school, I also use it to portion out her meal at home. I like how there are additional, separate compartments for soups or sauces.
The lunch box bag that comes with this set is insulated. It can maintain the temperature of the food for 2-4 hours.
Other snack storage solutions I like are these mason jars and rectangular glass containers. As they are made of glass, I use these mostly for my own snacks and not my kids’ snacks. They’re great for larger quantities.
Yogurt and Fruit Go Hand in Hand for Healthy Eating
Cups of yogurt paired with fresh fruit is a great snack that can appease kids with insatiable sweet-tooths who may otherwise prefer sugary snacks like candy or cookies.
Yogurt is one of the best options because of its versatility – it can come in pre-packaged cups or in larger containers to be packed into reusable containers. It also comes in a variety of flavors and many yogurt brands offer healthier reduced fat versions.
According to Healthline, yogurt has many nutritional advantages thanks to being a good source of protein and calcium. These advantages include aiding in childhood bone development and regulating digestion.
Peanut Butter with Apples or Celery is a Classic Healthy Snack
Peanut butter is one of those magic foods that almost all children enjoy. Even for those with peanut allergies there are alternatives, such as sunflower or almond butter, that can be equally enjoyable and easy to eat.
Peanut butter offers a hefty serving of protein, which gives your kids energy, and pairs super well with apples and celery, which are both a tremendous source of fiber. Plus, all of these ingredients can be bought at minimal costs, especially if you opt for store-brands of peanut butter and bulk bags of apples and celery.
Popcorn Is Actually a Healthy Whole Grain
Popcorn is commonly mistaken for being a complete junk food. This is thanks in part to its popularization in movie theaters, where it is smothered in butter and flavoring. However, when popcorn is not prepared in this way and is served without the butter, it is actually quite healthy.
According to the American Heart Association:
“[Popcorn] is a whole grain, and high-fiber whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other health problems. Federal dietary guidelines say half of all grains consumed should be whole grains, and popcorn packs more fiber per serving than whole-wheat bread.”
Popcorn can also be great news for your budget, as large quantities of un-popped kernels can be purchased in bulk, making it an easy snack to stock up on.
String Cheese Is Entertaining, Portable, and Affordable
String cheese is a super-fun snack that can entertain your child as much as it fills them up. Many string cheeses are a great source of calcium and Vitamin C, as well as fiber and protein. It is often sold in bulk with many sticks included per package.
Cheese sticks that are part-skim are considered the healthiest, with one stick containing only 80 calories but also 8 grams of protein that helps your snacking student to feel fuller, according to Every Day Health. Plus, cheese sticks are highly portable, making them a great at-school snack.
Raisin Packs Are Actually a Healthy, All-Natural Snack
Raisin packs have been controversial in the past due to their high sugar content and the potential impact of this on children’s teeth. However, a recent study suggests that despite the sugar, raisins should be considered a healthy snack. The study states:
“It has been demonstrated that raisins possess a low-to-moderate glycemic index, which makes them a healthy snack. They seem to contribute to a better diet quality and may reduce appetite. Their antioxidant capacity has been correlated to the phenolic content and this may be involved in the improvement of cardiovascular health.”
This is great news for parents, as raisin packs are a super cheap snack option for students that can be easily stored and brought to school. Just be sure to follow serving suggestions listed under the nutrition facts to avoid too much sugar.
Carrots and Hummus Are Budget-Friendly And Fun
Hummus tends to be a toss-up with kids on whether or not they like it. For those that do, however, it makes an excellent dip that can be served with vegetables such as carrots in place of traditional and fattening dips like ranch.
Additionally, carrots are generally pretty cheap, especially if you buy whole carrots that you will later chop up into dippable sizes. If your child prefers baby carrots, fret not as these are also priced within an affordable range. As for hummus, you can save money and make it at home for an equally tasting dip with many more servings than what comes in a store-bought container.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe for hummus!
Banana Chips Supply Many Essential Vitamins for Kids
With the growing popularity of the health and wellness industry, more and more snacks are popping up in supermarkets with the intention of replacing traditional junk foods, such as chips. Banana chips are one such snack, packing in a good supply of vitamins and minerals.
Like raisins, however, banana chips should be eaten in moderation as they do have a fairly high sugar content. Nonetheless, replacing your student’s bag of Doritos with a bag of banana chips is certainly a healthy improvement. Plus, banana chips are another easy item to make at home – check out this recipe!
Cream-Cheese and Cucumber Sandwiches Are Always a Win
Cream-cheese stuffed between two slices of cucumber is a savory treat for your kiddo that’s sure to satisfy your appetite. The healthiest way to make these is to use the cucumbers as the “sandwich” part, although using whole-grain bread to make these works as well. Plus, cucumbers are cheap, and cream-cheese can be bought in larger containers that last a long time.
This type of snack pairs really well with other vegetables, such as carrot sticks and celery on the side, so this snack is a great option that can also double as a lunch in some cases. Just be mindful of how much cream cheese you are using and follow the suggested serving size listed on the nutrition label, and add a little salt and pepper for some extra flavor!
Providing your child with healthy snacks to bring to school is essential for their nutrition, alertness, and academic success. Luckily, buying healthy snacks doesn’t have to break the bank.
Always look for food items and snack ideas that allow you to buy in bulk or buy whole fruits and vegetables that are typically cheaper than canned or packaged versions.
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