The new school year is in full swing, and if you’re looking for new snack ideas for that lunchbox, we have a few healthy ones. Many of them are also great to stash in an office drawer or keep in the pantry or fridge for after-school fueling. And all of them are far better for you than a 100-calorie pack of crackers or cookies.
Tasty and Healthy Lunchbox Snacks
House Foods Go Umami Bars: These are so brand-spanking new that they may be hard to find, but they’re worth hunting down. Tofu and shirataki noodle maker House Foods has come up with a portable tofu snack that provides 5 grams of plant protein for just 60 calories. Now before you go all, “Ewww, tofu bars,” these are baked, non-GMO tofu, which has a — pardon the expression — meatier texture and flavor than those water-packed white blobs. The bars, which do need to be refrigerated, come in three flavors: Savory, Hickory Smoke, and Orange Teriyaki.
Stonyfield Organic YoKids Squeezers: Yes, we know that Stonyfield’s YoKids Squeezers come in a bunch of flavors, but we’re a little in love with the lemonade ones, especially after they’ve been tossed in the freezer. It’s also a great way to keep them safe in your kid’s lunchbox. Freeze them overnight and by lunchtime, they’ll be perfect. But take our advice — when you get the box of Squeezers home, toss the entire box in the freezer, and you’ll have the perfect 60-calorie frozen yogurt snack. The lemonade flavor ones are paired with blueberry in each 8-pack.
Seasnax Chomperz: We discovered these on a post-gym visit to a natural foods store, and we were thrilled to see that you could eat the entire 1-ounce bag for 80 calories. Chomperz are seaweed curls wrapped in rice, and they come in original, onion, barbecue, and jalapeno. Don’t go turning up your nose at the notion of seaweed — these little triangles are super tasty. We tried the jalapeno and liked the little kick of heat along with the crunch.
Vega Protein+ Snack Bars: Another newbie, these bars from Vega offer up plant-based protein in a 200-calorie bar that is just as tasty as a candy bar, only without the junk. The bars come in Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Caramel, the latter of which is a good choice for peanut-free classrooms.
Justin’s Snack Packs: The nut butter maker’s Snack Pack product line just got bigger with the addition of Justin’s Peanut Butter and Banana Chip Snack Packs. It comes in two flavors: Classic Peanut Butter + Banana Chips and Honey Peanut Butter + Banana Chips. If your school or your kid can’t do peanut butter, Justin’s also has Maple Almond Butter + Pretzels, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter + Pretzels, Classic Almond Butter + Pretzels, and Honey Almond Butter + Pretzels.
Go Raw Watermelon Seeds: Move over pumpkin seeds, there’s a new seedy snack in town and it’s something you usually discard — watermelon seeds. The only two ingredients listed are organic sprouted watermelon seeds and Celtic sea salt. These don’t look like those large black watermelon seeds you’ll find in your melon — instead, these seeds are sprouted and the shells removed, leaving a seed that looks a little like an off-white pumpkin seed. And like most seeds, watermelon seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. One ounce of watermelon seeds has 160 calories, 11 grams of fat (most of it polyunsaturated) and 10 grams of protein. In addition, watermelon seeds are high in magnesium, iron, zinc and copper.
What are your go-to healthy lunchbox snacks? —Gail