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18 Healthy Lunchbox & After School Snacks for Kids

Time for a lunchbox makeover as the school year starts! Ditch the junk and sugar-laden snacks, and tuck these healthy items into your child’s lunchbox instead!

1. Slammers Super Food Snacks

Fuel for school! Perfect for lunches and after school sports, Slammers Super Food Snacks were created to be delicious & instant organic fuel for active kids. Packed with superfoods, two of the flavors (Watermelon Kiwi Burst and Pomegranate Grape Crush) contain 7 grams of protein for growing bodies. In addition to these two flavors, Slammers Super Food Snacks offers 3 additional tasty varieties, EPIC (mangoes, bananas, oranges, carrots, Greek yogurt & real vanilla), AWESOME (bananas, blueberries, strawberries, beets, acai, & amaranth) and CHILL’N (bananas, blueberries, butternut squash, Greek yogurt & yumberry). Slammers Snacks can be purchased nationwide at Target, Safeway, Kroger, Costco and Walmart.

2. Rule Breaker Snacks

Rule Breaker Snacks harness the power of beans (yes, beans!) along with oats and other wholesome ingredients to create truly delicious, indulgent and guilt-free goodies. That’s right, Rule Breaker Deep Chocolate Brownies and Chocolate Chunk Blondies are made with chickpeas (they are the first ingredient!), but you’d never know it from the rich delicious flavor and texture. Perfect for anyone looking for a treat they feel better about eating, Rule Breaker snacks contain 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and are gluten-free, 100% plant-based (vegan), nut-free and top 8 allergen-free.

3. Banana Wave

Created from one of nature’s most universally-loved fruits, the banana, BANANA WAVE bananamilk is a delicious, creamy and nutrient-filled new option. Derived from an ancient African recipe that has been passed down for generations, BANANA WAVE bananamilk begins with a universally loved fruit that is a staple in most households – bananas. Because BANANA WAVE bananamilk begins with pure banana puree, one serving contains as much potassium as a small banana, 330 mg, and also contains 29 vitamins and minerals and 1200 mg of Omega-3s per serving. BANANA WAVE bananamilk is vegan, all natural, dairy, gluten and GMO-free.

4. Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter

Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter is an award-winning peanut-butter alternative made from naturally sweet and “nutty” tasting golden peas (with yes, more veggie protein!), but without a trace of peanuts, tree nuts, seeds, or soy. Available in Creamy and Chocolate (which has more protein and half the sugar of other chocolate spreads!), Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter is so good everyone will love it allergies or not.

5. Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bars

Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bars, available in Strawberry Banana and Pineapple Passionfruit flavors, are dual-flavored, triple-layered fruit snacks produced in a nut free facility, making them the ideal on-the-go, allergy-friendly snack for kids and families! Compared to other mainstream fruit snack brands that may contain artificial additives and preservatives, Pure Organic takes a cleaner and more transparent approach, using all organic fruit and vegetable juices and purees with no artificial flavors, preservatives, or synthetic colors. Both kids and adults love them!

6. Wicked Crisps

Wicked Crisps, a surprisingly healthful snack with an irresistible taste, are chock full of nutrition from veggies, herbs and spices. A guilt-free treat for taste buds, Wicked Crisps are available in seven delicious flavors like Cheesy Cheese Pizza, Spinach Parmesan, Spring Vegetable Medley, Sweet Potato Soufflé and Red Curry Hummus (our daughter’s fave!), that combine the protein and goodness from vegetables in a crisp that is formulated without GMOs, gluten or non-organic ingredients. Wicked Crisps are deliciously deceptive nutrition!

7. Kalot Superfood

Kalot Superfood offers nutritional nut and seed butters blended with fruits, spices and a custom vitamin blend that provides up to 50% of the Daily Value for a nutrient-rich and tasty treat that can be seamlessly incorporated into hectic routines to keep bodies full, fueled and healthy. Kalot Superfood is available in nine delicious varieties including Almond Butter blends: Blueberry Cinnamon Walnut; Cherry Vanilla; Dark Chocolate Coconut; Espresso Hazelnut; Chia Cashew Butter Blends: Blueberry Vanilla; White Chocolate Strawberry; Chocolate Chip and Sunflower Seed Butter Blends: Cinnamon Apple; Chocolate Cherry.

8. HEROFUEL

Need a quick, protein-packed snack for your child’s after school sports game or activity? HEROFUEL has 10g of protein, only 6-8g sugar, the right amount of fiber and carbs for kids playing sports, or just being active! It’s the first and only sports bar made specifically for kids! Kids love the taste, parents love the nutrition. Available in kid-sized portions in two delicious flavors, Chocolate Chip Brownie and Cookies & Cream.

9. Nature’s Crush

Nature’s Crush Microwave Popcorn is a revolutionary new all-natural microwave popcorn. Different because it uses real herbs and spices, not artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, to create a gourmet popcorn experience. Nature’s Crush is whole grain, gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO. Perfect for snacks, lunchboxes and parties, Nature’s Crush fills the whole house with the aroma of delicious goodness. Nature’s Crush microwave popcorn is making microwave popcorn a pantry must-have once again.

10. Cherryvale Farms

Cherryvale Farms is a pioneer in 100% plant-based baking and a family business that drew inspiration from their own small farm in Santa Cruz, California to create delicious baking mixes everyone can enjoy at home. All Cherryvale Farms baking mix products are 100% plant-based, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free and free from preservatives and artificial colors and flavors, making them an excellent option for those managing food allergies or intolerances. New Cherryvale Farms Instant Indulgence Individual Mug Cakes are perfect for middle or high school lunchboxes – or for Mom or Dad to keep in their drawer at work for a sweet treat!

11. Ceres’ Smoothie to Go

Ceres’ Smoothie to Go pack the heavenly taste of perfectly ripe, organic fruit into a healthy, sippable snack that is filled with the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body craves without any fillers, GMOs or added sugars. Packed at the peak of freshness to preserve the pure, crisp taste of exotic real fruit, Smoothies to Go are the ideal way for your littles to get their “five-a-day” recommended servings of fruits and 100% of daily Vitamin C. Each smoothie contains small chunks of luscious real fruit. Available in three mouthwatering flavors, Mango, Tropical with Guava, Mango and Passionfruit, or Apple Berry blends. Naturally vegan and gluten-free.

12. MadeGood Snacks

My son’s favorite… especially the Strawberry Granola Minis! These healthy, delicious granola-based snacks are made in a dedicated facility free from the eight common allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, dairy, egg, soy, sesame, fish and shellfish. MadeGood snacks are also organic, gluten-free and non-GMO project verified, making them the perfect school-safe snack. Choose from a variety of yummy, pint-sized snacks perfect for little ones, including Soft Baked Cookies, Crispy Light Granola, Granola Bars, Granola Minis (found at Costco!) and Crispy Squares.

13. Tree Top Clear Applesauce Pouches

Elevate kids’ back-to-school lunch game with Tree Top clear applesauce pouches! Tree Top’s new line-up of transparent pouches includes seven healthy, on-the-go fruit options. Yummy varieties include Apple, Mango, Cinnamon, Strawberry, Mixed Berry, Tropical, and my favorite, Organic. Along with being delicious, Tree Top’s pouches are also healthy: they are made with 100% American apples, and have no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors and colors. With each pouch at 40-60 calories, parents can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing their kids aren’t filling up on empty calories.

14. JUNKLESS Chewy Granola Bars

Seeking a snack option that your kiddos will love to find tucked in their lunchbox? JUNKLESS Chewy Granola Bars are family-friendly, better-for-you snacks that are minimally processed, contain no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, are Non-GMO Project Verified, and contain 6 grams of sugar or lower. No junk, and they taste good! The four flavors include Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, 100% REAL Strawberries and Cinnamon Roll. JUNKLESS Chewy Granola Bars are available nationally on Amazon and in select grocery stores around the country.

15. Popcornopolis Nearly Naked Popcorn

When you want to provide kids of all ages with a healthy snack they are sure to love, Nearly Naked Popcorn is a sure thing! This healthy snack contains nothing more than freshly popped American-grown gourmet popcorn tossed in a touch of coconut oil and a sprinkle of salt. One cup of Nearly Naked popcorn contains just 33 calories! This whole grain, gluten free snack is available in .55oz snack size bags that are ideal for lunch boxes, class snacks, field trips, road trips, movie nights, and more.

16. TahiniBAR

New from Absolutely Gluten Free, TahiniBAR is a grab-and-go sesame seed snack that weighs in at only 100 calories! Like tahini and its decadent dessert cousin, halvah, the energy bars are made from all-natural roasted sesame seeds. Sesame seeds help boost energy levels and are a good source of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, Calcium, Iron, Zinc and potassium. Much lower in calories than many other bars, this 100% gluten-free treat is available in three delectable varieties, including Cocoa Nibs, Pistachio, and Vanilla, and sold in packs of 7 bars (4.4 oz.). All varieties are certified OU Kosher and dairy-free.

17. NurturMe Organic Ancient Grains Power Blends

These superfruit, veggie and ancient grain meal pouches give little ones a nutrient-boosting tropical snack! Available in 4 yummy varieties, their Pear + Quinoa + Amaranth + Spinach and Strawberry + Banana + Amaranth pouches are my son’s favorite! Easy to tuck in your child’s lunchbox at daycare or preschool, they provide a no-mess option for little hands. Made with no gluten, soy, dairy or egg. Non-GMO.

18. NurturMe Ancient Grain Cookies

Tummy-friendly and good for you, NurturMe has combined 4 nutrient-packed ancient grains to create the perfect organic and gluten-free cookie for little ones! Made with quinoa, amaranth, millet and sorghum, the cookies do not contain dairy, soy or egg. They are available in two delicious flavors, Cocoa & Honey, and their cute shapes promote learning & play! (yes, we think it’s ok to play with your food!) Plus, they are also a complete and balanced protein with all 9 essential amino acids and immune-boosting antioxidants. Non-GMO.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

3 Ways to Go Green for Back-to-School

As the new school year rolls around, our minds quickly turn to folders, colored pencils, expensive textbooks, bad school lunches, and all other new school year things. For kids, a new year of school means summer days ending, teachers waiting with homework, and new school threads. For parents, the new school year usually means extending your daily commute and spending a lot of your savings on all those back to school necessities. As more and more focus is being put on living alongside of our environment as opposed to on top of it, efforts to “go green” have extended to all aspects of our lives. Interestingly, the new school year is a time full of waste and excess in many ways. Before starting a new school year with a slew of new supplies, wasted lunches, and long rides, take these “green” ideas into consideration.

The School Lunch

School lunch is a tricky subject. Kids are picky and packing a lunch can be time consuming for busy parents. While the brown bag lunch with peanut butter and jelly and a prepackaged bag of potato chips is a school lunch classic, there are many better options. For a greener lunch, ditch the brown paper sack. Using a new paper sack every single day for lunch is needlessly wasteful. Consider washable Tupperware or a nice sturdy lunchbox. This will help reduce your paper waste and can keep your child’s food better intact. Rather than individually packing each element of a lunch in a separate sandwich bag, use more Tupperware. Using things that are washable and reusable rather than trash-able is always beneficial for the environment. To go even “greener,” consider sustainable food options for your kid’s lunch. Not only are sustainable products healthier, they are also better for the environment. Look into sustainable produce options at the store and sustainable, organic meat products.

School Supplies

One of the easiest ways to go green with new school supplies is to minimize your waste. Take a careful look throughout the house to find any school supplies and items you might have lost over the summer. Try not to re-buy a bunch of stuff you already have in the house. Take a look through your kids’ notebooks from last year and see if they can be reused. Tear out used pages and use whatever is left. Reuse whatever you can. For items you need to buy new, look for sustainable and recycled products. In K through 12, paper is still king for assignments, tests, not taking, and everything else. Look for paper products that have a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content and that is processed without chlorine. These products are better for the environment and not significantly more expensive to purchase.

The Commute

As a parent, one of the most difficult aspects of a new school year is adjusting your morning and afternoon commute. If your child’s school isn’t on the way to work, this can add a huge chunk of time to your drive and can be a real gas guzzler. Consider carpool options for your child’s commute. You could work out a driving schedule with other parents so you don’t each have to make the drive every day. Fewer cars on the road (even if it’s only two or three fewer) will help the environment and is a greener option. If carpooling isn’t a choice you can make work, consider having your kid take the school bus or riding their bike/walking to school. If the school bus goes by your house to begin with, you won’t be adding to air pollution and emissions. If your neighborhood is safe and you feel comfortable letting your child ride or walk to work, this is a very green option. Get together with a few parents and have your kids travel in a group to and from school.

About the Author

This is a guest post by freelance writer and full time blogger Barbara Jolie. Barbara enjoys sharing her knowledge on accredited online college classes and education with her blogging community. You can reach her at [email protected].

*Image courtesy of Dabbawalla Bags.*

6 Planet-Friendly Picks for Back-to-School

ReUsies™

Skip the plastic baggies and opt for a reusable, cheerful option instead! ReUsies™ are an excellent eco-friendly alternative to sandwich & plastic snack bags – each one has the potential to eliminate hundreds of plastic bags. ReUsies™ are 100% cotton lined with leak-resistant nylon and are secured with Velcro®
closures. Available in a variety of fun, colorful prints such as elephants, birds, and baseballs.

California Innovations

California Innovations just knows what kids love – Disney favorites on their lunchbox! From Cars to Princesses, their PVC-free and Lead-safe zippered lunch bags will keep your child’s lunch cold with high-density thermal insulation. In addition to being PVC-free & lead-free, all of California Innovations’ coolers and lunch bags incorporate Microban to provide antimicrobial protection and inhibit bacterial odors/stains. Offered in a variety of styles, sizes and colors for all ages, California Innovations’ affordable collection can also be found at your local Target.

PACkit Cooler Bottle & Lunch Bag

Ingenious and just plain smart, this freezable, insulated bag eliminates the need for gel packs because it is already lined with eco-friendly gel. Simply fold and storethe PACkit Cooler Bottle & Lunch Bag in the freezer until you are ready to use on busy school mornings! For tweens and teens who do not wish to carry an animal-shaped lunchbox, this lunch bag is unobtrusive and folds up neatly to tuck in a backpack or messenger bag after being used. It will keep food and bottles fresh and cold for up to 10 hours.

ReUsables Natural Tableware

Just say no to plastic forks, spoons, and knives! Dandelion Earth-Friendly Goods now offers reusable & earth-friendly utensils made from corn! The ReUsables Natural Tableware Feeding line is made from cornstarch bioplastic, and all items are BPA-free, Phthalate-free, Lead-free, and PVC-free. Sold in multi-packs of 8 for convenience, the utensils are perfectly shaped for small hands. In addition to the utensils, the Natural Tableware Feeding line includes plates, bowls, utensils, and an infant feeding set (perfect for little ones in daycare!).

Lunchopolis by Enviro Products

Like a tiny city for all of your lunch items! Both stylish and innovative, Lunchopolis was designed with everything you need to pack a nutritious, planet-friendly lunch! Yes, that is correct – no more plastic sandwich bags, aluminum foil, milk and juice boxes or other unnecessary waste to toss out with the trash. Available in bold, bright colors, each Lunchopolis lunchbox comes with a drinking bottle and modular containers in a variety of sizes that are reusable and stack neatly together inside the soft lunchbox. Perfect for older children and tweens! All Lunchopolis products are BPA-free, as well.

Skip Hop Zoo Lunchies

Lions and tigers – oh my! Skip Hop’s Zoo Lunchies are “Mom’s” new favorite when it comes to a functional yet just plain adorable lunchbox for her little one. BPA-free and Phthalate-free, all Zoo Lunchies feature a roomy main compartment large enough for a sandwich, fruits & vegetable, and a milk or juice box. (“Mom” packs almond milk singles in her child’s lunchbox.) Plus, there is an interior mesh compartment for utensils or reusable freezer gel pack, and the top handle includes a clip that can be hooked to other bags or matching Zoo Pack. Each zipper is too, too cute – they feature a fun matching zipper-pull!

*Companies geneorusly provided samples and images for this article.*

The air begins to turn from warm to crisp. The trees and leaves begin to edge with fall colors. These are the tell tale signs that the school year is about to begin again. It is around this time of year that many parents begin to think about getting their kids ready for a successful year of learning. In fact, there are even some responsible kids who start thinking along the same lines. For those of you—both parents and students—who are looking for some tips about how to get prepared for school, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best websites to get ready for the back to school season.

10 Best Websites to Get Properly Prepared for the Back to School Season

1) Offers.com – Offers.com is one of the best websites on the Internet for coupons and discount codes. There are dozens of coupons and codes that can be used to purchase items such as computers, printers, monitors, textbooks, and school supplies. They even have a category of coupons for tutoring and test preparation services. This is our number one site because it can offer one stop shopping for school year preparation and has lots of great educational tools.

2) Overstock. com – Overstock.com comes in a close second because it has many of the items and educational tools listed by Offers.com. But be sure to go to Offers.com first because they’ve got great Overstock coupon codes that can be used here.

3) Organizedhome.com – This site has some great articles about how to get organized for the school year.

4) Wikihow.com – With a number of articles written for kids about how to get ready for school and make each day a success, this site is a must for both parents and kids who are old enough to take part in the process of getting themselves ready for school every day.

5) eHow.com – eHow.com is another site with good articles and advice for parents and kids about how to get prepared, get organized, and use educational tools to make the school year a great success.

6) School-supply-list.com – This is a great site that can help you to figure out all of the items that you need to purchase for your child’s upcoming school year.

7) Greatschools.org – Here is another great site with articles for parents who want to get involved in their kids’ success at school.

8) Kidsource.com – The formatting on this site isn’t the best, but it does have lots of useful articles for parents who want to get their kids ready for school and stay involved throughout the school year.

9) Greenpandatreehouse.com – This is a site that includes personal finance information for people in their 20’s. It includes a few very helpful articles about how college students can prepare for the coming academic year.

10) Collegecrunch.org – Here is another good site for college students with lists of things that college students should remember to buy in preparation for the school year. The lists also include wise spending tactics for these products.

When it comes to education, planning and preparation are two major keys to success. By using these sites, you can make that process simpler and more effective.

This is a guest post by Jessy Troy who promotes green living via her DIY gadget blog collection.

*Post image by woodleywonderworks.