With the school year off to a great start, I’m more focused than ever on meal planning to reduce the number of times I have to go to the grocery store each week AND to provide nutritious meals that my kids are excited to eat. That last one can be a challenge with picky eaters, but I think (I hope!) I’ve found the answer.
This post is sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods who makes delicious gluten free and top 12 allergen free snacks, desserts, and baking mixes. As always, all opinions are my own.
For our family, the answer was getting my kids buy-in by letting them be part of the meal planning process. How did I do that? Simply by asking them all of their favorite meals and snacks. Next, I made little index cards with the nutritious options they mentioned, and on Sundays I let them pick the lunches and snacks for the week out of a bin. I’m into the third week of this now and it is totally working!!! They think it’s fun to plan it out and those lunchboxes keep coming home empty!
I’ve shared some of my kids’ favorite lunch recipes like gluten free pizza quesadillas, sushi rolls, yummy sandwiches, and avocado pinto bean quesadillas, but I haven’t given you a list of our top 10 gluten free snacks for kids yet, so here it is! They go well in lunch boxes or as after school on-the-go snacks, and adults will love them too.
Top 10 Gluten Free Snacks for Kids
Trail Mix – It goes great with so many different types of lunches! We love Enjoy Life’s nut-free seed and fruit mixes – Mountain Mambo and Beach Bash – and they come in grab and go sizes too!
Carrots & Hummus – The natural sweetness of carrots always make them a win so we include them a lot. You can change up the hummus flavors to add variety.
Crackers & Pretzels – When my kids want some crunch in their lunch box, I add one of these and most often pack almond flour crackers since they have more protein to fuel them throughout the day.
Cherry tomatoes – the natural sweetness makes them stand out on their own, but be sure to slice them if you have toddlers to make sure they go down easily.
Plantain chips – You can purchase them already made, or make your own like we do. Here’s my super simple plantain chips recipe. Serve them by themselves or with guacamole for dipping (just remember to squeeze some lemon juice in there to keep it from browning).
I don’t know about you, but I like to end my meals with something sweet. As much as we love desserts in our house, I don’t pack them at school because I’d rather give them good brain food that won’t lead to sugar highs and lows. Here are our go-to’s for sweet endings.
Protein Bites – These make me feel a little sneaky! They’re packed with healthy ingredients and protein, but comes in a delicious chocolate ball shape so the kids think I’m giving them dessert 🙂 . Our favorite kind is Enjoy Life’s Sunseed Butter Protein Bites and they also make them in dipped banana, dark raspberry, cinnamon spice, cranberry orange and mango habanero flavors.
Fruit – Fruit is always a winner in the lunch box. We rotate strawberries, mango, blueberries and kiwi and freeze dried fruit the most, but any kind will work. Pro mom tip – keep your strawberries from getting mushy in a lunch box by drying them with a paper towel after you slice them.
Mini Muffins – My kids are always excited to see mini muffins, so when I make a large batch of blueberry or banana muffins for the week’s breakfasts, I save some of the batter to make a mini pan of muffins too. Keep the ones out that you’ll eat in the next few days in a sealed container and freeze the rest for future use.
Fruit Leather – Once in a while I add a piece of fruit leather to my daughter’s lunch box, and sometimes I cut it into shapes with a veggie cutter for fun. Be sure to get the ones made from real fruit without added sugar because fruit is sweet enough on its own, or you can make your own with this Strawberry Fruit Roll Ups recipe.
Apple Chips – We like plain and cinnamon varieties, and there are tons of options at the store. Or, you can make them at home in your oven.
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Do you have more go-to snacks? I’d love to hear them in the comments!