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10 healthy lunch box snacks for your kids that you can actually make at home.

We all know that a nutritious lunch helps our kids perform better at school and provides them the energy they need to enjoy active after-school play.

Many families however find creating healthy and appealing lunch box alternatives to the humble cheese and Vegemite sandwich a struggle.

That’s not to say that sandwiches don’t have their place in a wholesome lunchbox. Recently I shared some school-friendly nutritious spreads and fillers to supercharge the nutritional content of sandwiches and to help provide more variety.

Don’t forget that the quality of the bread is an important factor too. In my book I give details on how to best choose high quality, healthy bread options, as well as how to understand the nutrition labels and spot hidden nasties.

Here are Wholesome Child’s 10 lunchbox snack recipes (sweet and savoury) that come fully kid-approved, as well as being nutritious, delicious and both allergy and school-friendly.

Banana Bread

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This delicious recipe is nut-free, dairy-free, suitable for vegetarians and can easily be made gluten-free too. It’s rich in healthy fats, iron and protein – a perfect lunch box addition.

Easy to make, and a great alternative to commercial banana breads which are usually filled with undesirable fats, sugar, sodium and preservatives.

Cauliflower, Chia and Cheese Falafels

These are gluten free, nut free and suitable for vegetarians.

Cauliflower and cheese are two ingredients that were made for each other, and with the addition of chickpeas and chia seeds we have created the most mouthwatering falafel balls. High in protein, essential fats and loaded with veggies – these are perfect for school lunch boxes.

Apricot and Coconut Muesli Bars

Nut free, dairy-free, suitable for vegetarians and are incredibly quick and easy to make. These delicious and nutritious school-friendly muesli bars are packed with ‘wholefood’ nutrients, perfect for an anytime snack. Commercial muesli bars are often loaded with processed sugars, hydrogenated fats, preservatives and other ingredients which are best left on the supermarket shelves.

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Honey and Spelt Biscuits

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Nut free and dairy free, these simple and delicious biscuits are packed with nutrition and are free from processed sugars.

Swapping from white (often bleached) flour to a wholemeal flour, replacing hydrogenated vegetable oils with virgin coconut oil or unsalted butter, using a natural sweetener such as raw honey or coconut sugar instead of refined sugar are all small changes… but make a big nutritional difference.

Butternut Hummus

Nut-free, gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians, this recipe is a simple, easy and nutrition packed addition to any lunch box. Chickpeas are packed full of goodness and are a rich source of folate, manganese, fibre, protein, iron and zinc.

You can use either canned chickpeas (we recommend an organic BPA free option), or dried chickpeas which have been soaked overnight and cooked until soft. Best accompanied with a selection of fresh veggie sticks for dipping, like carrots, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes cut in half.

Sweet Potato Pikelets

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Gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free and vegetarian friendly, these delicious pikelets are a fantastic and convenient lunch box option, as they’re really freezer-friendly.

They’re also loaded with vitamins and minerals and naturally sweet. The addition of chia seeds means they also contain omega-3s, calcium and magnesium. Delicious when served with a ricotta spread, for an extra zinc boost.

Chickpea and Pumpkin Patties

Chickpeas are full of potassium, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin C, iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium. They also contain vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, choline and selenium.

These delicious chickpea and pumpkin patties are a great protein option for school lunchboxes and are vegetarian friendly, nut-free, egg-free, gluten-free and dairy-free too! Your little ones can enjoy these on their own, or with sauces (tzatziki, hummus or home-made tomato sauce), or in a sourdough bun as a veggie burger.

Mini Salmon Quiches

These delicious little quiches are a perfect freezer option for busy families, plus they are gluten-free and nut-free. Salmon is rich in Omega-3’s which is essential for growing children, providing important developmental and immune system support. Our mini quiche recipe is a perfect way to enjoy salmon in a kid-friendly, delicious, flavour-sensation using cheese, pumpkin, eggs and herbs.

DIY Coconut Yoghurt

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Yoghurt is always a popular lunch box addition, and this deliciously simple recipe is dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free and nut-free.Super easy to make, and can be flavoured according to your child’s preference, a great option is to add fresh fruit.

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The average supermarket squeezie yoghurt is filled with processed sugars - this recipe offers a far more nutritious (and cost effective) option.

Raspberry and Pear Muffins

Nut-free and vegetarian friendly, the raspberry and pear combine together with the coconut cream to create these mouthwatering mini-muffins.

Packed with wholefood nutrition and free from processed sugars, these are a great lunch box treat. The raspberries could easily be substituted for blueberries or strawberries.

Here are some other simple and nutritious lunchbox snacks that can be made in under five minutes:

  • Boiled eggs in fun-shaped moulds
  • Veggie sticks with home-made dips
  • Seaweed wraps – seaweed strips, shredded veggies, shredded chicken that kids can wrap themselves
  • Natural yoghurt with mixed fruit in a reusable container (freeze the night before so it’s slushy by the time kids eat it!)
  • Cheese, tomato and cucumber salads (cut cheese into fun shapes)
  • Fruit, veggie and cheese skewers
  • Trail mixes: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sultanas, popcorn, coconut flakes, carob nibs
  • Sourdough toast fingers with Betta than Nutella Choc Spread (school friendly)
  • Popcorn with coconut oil, cinnamon and sea salt

LISTEN: It's about time school returns, because kids have started hunting for rocks. Real life rocks. We discuss why, on our podcast for imperfect parents...

Visit the Wholesome Child website to learn more about Mandy Sacher. Her book Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook is available for purchase online and through iTunes. Connect with Mandy on Instagram and Facebook.

If you’d like more practical advice on nutritional lunch box ideas, then you may be interested in Mandy’s workshop: Wholesome Child Lunchbox Solutions.  For more information contact Mandy Sacher.

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