For a lot of parents, it can be challenging to keep coming up with new ideas for healthy snacks that their children will actually want to eat.
The NHS Change for Life campaign and nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed have come up with 9 healthy and tasty lunch ideas that your children can take to school, or that you can quickly make for them when they come home hungry after school.
1. Chopped vegetables and low-fat hummus
Chop up different veggies into strips, such as carrots, cucumbers and peppers, and choose some healthy low-fat hummus. If your child is taking this to school, get a lunchbox with separate compartments to keep the dip away from the other foods.
2. Frozen grapes and banana
This will make a great summer snack at breaktime, as the fruit will still be cold. It may also be worth putting a freezer block in the lunchbox too, to keep things cool. If you are giving grapes to young children, cut them in half to reduce the choking hazard.
Try freezing different fruits and see what your children enjoy best, and putting the sliced grapes on cocktail sticks is novel enough to encourage kids to eat them.
3. Crunchy roasted chickpeas
Roast some chickpeas in the oven along with some seasoning, such as salt, pepper or cinnamon. Add a small amount of olive oil and roast for around 30 minutes. You can make batches of these in advance and put them in pots for a healthy snack.
4. Sugar-free jelly
You can buy sugar-free jelly from the supermarket or make your own at home. Add some fruit segments too.
5. Malt loaf slice
The NHS says that malt loaf is a healthier alternative to cakes, as it contains a lot less fat and sugar. Soreen malt loaves are a good choice, or if you have time to spare you can make your own.
6. Natural yogurt with fruit segments
Natural and Greek yogurt is healthier than many fruit flavoured yogurts which contain a high amount of sugar. Add some fruit to make it a well-rounded snack.
7. Spiced apple crisps
Cut an apple into thin slices and sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Bake in the oven for around an hour, turning the slices over halfway through the cooking time. This will give a lovely crisp and tasty snack that’s much healthier than a bag of crisps.
You can get boxes of microwaveable popcorn in supermarkets. Salted popcorn is healthier than sweet or butter varieties, and you can get ready-made healthier options such as Propercorn, Nude Popcorn Company and Metcalfe’s.
9. Corn on the cob
Corn on the cob is a snack kids often enjoy, especially getting to eat it off the cob! Squeeze lime or lemon on them before grilling, and cut them up into smaller segments to make it easier for kids to eat.