Produce + Protein

Not all foods are created equal and when our kids are playing, learning and working they need sustaining calories that will get them through the day. But, you may want to think again when you throw in the extra granola bar, flavored yogurt, or packaged treat in his lunch box. In fact, the extra processed grain may not fulfill your child’s metabolic needs.

However you feel about the disappearance of the food pyramid and its new dinner plate replacement, at the very least, it addresses the minimal needs of grains in our diets and really provides focus on fresh foods. How can we help our children with better food options, we’ve started a list of tried and true, kid approved snacks.

Here are our favorite PRODUCE + PROTEIN snacks to keep kids going!

Plain Greek Yogurt:  Costco is now selling low fat, plain Greek yogurt. It’s great with a little agave or h0ney, Craisins, crushed nuts or fresh fruit. Or, make it savory with a dash of salt and your favorite herbs and spices like curry or onion powder, parsley and oregano or some salsa. It’s great with shredded carrot and diced cucumber. Our kids like to dip jicama, olives, carrots, celery and pretzels in the savory variety, and sliced apples in the sweetened.

Peanut butter:  Natural peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, and almond butter have lower sodium and less (or no) sugar content than other brands. We like to add honey or agave and use it as a dip for apples, pretzels and celery.

Kefir:  The 1st iteration of the liquid yogurt drink has made a comeback. Costo sells two bottles of raspberry and Trader Joe’s has an assortment of flavors. Pack it in an insulated thermos for snack or a tasty addition to lunch.

Cream Cheese:  Old fashioned cream cheese on celery. It can be flavored with pineapple juice or add Craisins or raisins to the top.

Build your own:  It’s like the famous pre-packaged make your own cracker sandwich, but cheaper and little packaging. Kids build their own cracker sandwich with fresh, sliced turkey, cheese slices, apple slices, thinly sliced veggies and a dense cracker selection.

Hummus dip, hummus, and crackers: Hummus is made from ground garbanzo beans, tahini (sesame seeds), olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. It is a great dip for fresh vegetables and dense crackers. It’s also great spread inside mini, whole wheat pitas and then topped with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes!

Crockpot or stovepot beans:  Cook garbanzo beans, pinto beans, or black beans with a little salt and a couple of cloves of garlic and a minced onion.  Drain most of the liquid and then use an immersion blender to smooth into a dip.  Perfect with pita chips, pretzels, and veggies. We love using our crock pot for cooking dried beans. Try this recipe for crockpot refried beans, which also make great burritos.

Do you have other ideas? Should we talk about lunch entrée favorites? Please leave comments so we can share and keep boredom at bay in our kids lunch boxes!

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3 Responses to Produce + Protein

  1. deonneknill says:

    We love Trader Joes Mediterranean Hummus. Also, Costco sells Cashew Clusters, which are cashews, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sweetened with cane juice. Packed with protein, a couple of these are a yummy morning snack.

  2. danisiver says:

    I forgot….homemade trailmix. We love Costo’s large bags of nuts, Trader Joe’s unusual items like dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, and yes, the winco bulk bins. RIght now, the boys are loving yogurt chips, whole wheat pretzel bites, craisins, mangos, and plantain chips. We mix as we go depending on their moods and then pre-pack them for the week.

    • Mary says:

      Great ideas! We also boil eggs and take those for lunches/snacks. My son also loves dried mango’s from Trader Joe’s; It provides you with more than your daily requirement of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It also contains fiber, magnesium, iron and antioxidants. it’s fat free, but also 0 protein so pair it with a cheese stick or boiled egg. Yogurt with a little container of granola to add is also great, just don’t over do the granola as it’s the most calorie-laden dense cereal out there. Hot air popped popcorn is also a great snack high in fiber.

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