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Back-to-School Lunches & Snacks…Are You Ready?

By Brooke McLay |

With summer waning, and the back-to-school shopping season in full swing, many parents find themselves overwhelmed with finding the time to prepare healthy snacks for their kids.   Jenna Weber, a certified wellness and nutritional consultant and author of the beloved health blog (and soon to be published book), Eat Live Run, was willing to offers a few of her best tips for parents looking to feed their children smart, no-fuss, kid-friendly snacks.  

Hi!  Jenna from Eat Live Run here and I was thrilled when asked if I could write a guest post for Babble. Although I’m not a mother yet (except to a very furry black cat named Dexter), I love kids and kid food! I have distinct memories as a child of my mother packing school lunches for me, always adding a special touch like an embarrassing note with a lipstick stained kiss or one of my favorite frosted cookies from the nearby bakery. When I am a mother, I hope to do the same for my children even if that means a little motherly embarrassment once in awhile.

It can be difficult to make sure your kids are eating healthy at school when there are so many new fast food options available. How is a mom to really know what her son does with his lunch money when French fries and soda are prevalent at the lunch table?

 Most kids aren’t too interested in opening a Tupperware of steamed broccoli and carrots in front of their friends, and that means it’s time to get inventive. Kids want food that both looks and tastes good and as a parent, it’s your job to feed them right.  Try a few of the following tips for the ultimate snack-worthy treats for kids:

  • Simple, easy to pack foods such as apple slices and peanut butter or string cheese are not only nutritious, but also are fun to eat.
  •  In terms of sandwiches, invest in a few inexpensive cookie cutters from Target and cut stars, hearts and animals out of the soft wheat bread you pack. Everything should be small—finger food—and be interesting and new.
  • A couple plump grapes, some ripe plum slices or even thinly sliced jicama sprinkled with lime juice would be fun choices. Remember, you are battling against French fries so your lunch really needs to shine.
  • In terms of dessert, instead of a mini bag of Skittles or M&Ms left over from Halloween, how about a small square of a healthy chocolate brownie? Or even a small slice of cheddar cheese.

It’s never too early to make children aware of quality food made with natural, simple ingredients. It just takes a little creativity!

Jenna is a Northern California-based writer and food blogger. She has a joint degree in English and creative writing from the College of Charleston, in South Carolina. She studied food writing in France and earned a culinary degree from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, where she began the popular blog Eat Live Run. Jenna has worked as a pastry chef, a bread baker and a freelance writer. She is busy working on her first book published by Sterling Publishing, which will hit bookshelves in early 2012.

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About Brooke McLay


Brooke McLay

Brooke McLay is a recipe developer, food writer, food photographer, and cooking show host for Babble, General Mills, and Good Cook. You can find and follow her latest whims at Cheeky Kitchen. Read bio and latest posts → Read Brooke's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “Back-to-School Lunches & Snacks…Are You Ready?

  1. Grace @eatdinner says:

    In dawned on me one day to use a big heart-shaped cookie cutter for my daughter’s sandwich. Now “heart jelly” sandwiches are a fave! I use soft wheat bread instead of white. More healthy and holds shape better in the lunch box.

  2. [...] *** I wrote an article last week for and it was just posted today. Check it out here! Also, I’ve been working on the very neglected official Eat, Live, Run facebook page. [...]

  3. Danielle says:

    Great article, Jenna! Even adults can follow these simple rules.

  4. Heather @ Life, Gluten Free says:

    Whenever we go out, I always pack my daughter snacks because she has life-threatening allergies and we don’t eat out. Some of her favorite snacks are dehydrated banana chips, molasses coconut bars, coconut yogurt and then just plain fruit (grapes, bananas, apricots, plums…). For us, it’s not actually possible to eat out of a box so we’ve come up with a lot of creative snacks and dishes. It just takes a little imagination and ambition!

    Here is a link to our dehydrated banana chips:

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