Freezer-friendly lunchbox snack ideas for kids
Posted on September 24 2019
Mornings can be frantic at the best of times – let alone in households with school-aged littlies. To help ease the pressure, I’m sharing five dietitian-approved lunchbox snacks you can make ahead of time.
As a dietitian, I’m a big fan of eggs. They’re economical (read: cheap!), versatile and packed with nutrients like hunger busting protein, heart healthy fats and energising iron. One of my favourite egg-cellent dishes is the humble frittata – a simple mix of whisked eggs, vegetables and a little cheese that’s baked in the oven. You could make a large frittata in a shallow casserole dish and slice before it goes in the freezer, or divvy the mixture into mini-muffin cases before cooking. The best part? Your kids will hardly notice they’re eating vegetables. Win!
2. Wholemeal muffins
I know what you’re thinking (“muffins... they can’t be healthy!”), but hear me out. My first suggestion is to swap the usual refined white flour for wholemeal – not only will that boost the content of gut-loving fibre, but add a range of important micronutrients. For extra wholegrain goodness, I’d also recommend throwing in some rolled oats for long-lasting energy. And instead of sugar, fresh fruit (think: mashed bananas or grated apple) is a great option for sweetness that provides the added bonus of disease-fighting antioxidants.
A good choice to go with a main meal or a snack as a snack on their own, meatballs are packed with protein that keep hunger pangs at bay (goodbye endless trips to the pantry after school). To make your own meatballs, opt for lean mince to keep the saturated fat content low, then throw in every vegetable you can find in your veggie crisper (carrots, zucchini, eggplant, mushroom, corn... you get the point). When it comes to cooking, I’d suggest baking rather than frying to keep them on the lighter side.
4. Milk poppers
A good dose of calcium with the added bonus of next-to-no prep. A small milk popper will contribute towards your child’s daily dairy serves, which is a good thing given that more than 50% of people don’t get enough bone-strengthening calcium. Simply freeze a batch of poppers and pop one in the lunchbox each morning – it’ll defrost by lunchtime. Plus, it doubles as an ice brick.
5. Bliss balls
A sweet treat made with the goodness of whole foods – what’s not to love? To make a batch of bliss balls, start with a base of blitzed dried fruit (dates work a treat). After that, the world is your oyster! I love to add nuts, but mixed seeds are a good substitute to keep them nut free. A little cocoa powder gives a yummy chocolate flavour, and to help the mixture stick together, add a tiny amount of coconut oil or honey. Then, roll the batter into bite-sized pieces and portion them into reusable containers to take out of the freezer to defrost when needed. Voila!
By Melissa Meier