by Erin Parekh, Holistic Health Coach + Culinary Nutrition Expert
Now that we’ve covered easy, healthy lunchbox ideas—let’s talk snacks and sweets. Because at the end of the day, we all know snack time is where it’s really at.
The key to preventing afternoon meltdowns and crazy sugar highs is making sure snacks (and yes, sweet treats too) have a balance of protein + fiber + fat just like a regular meal.
When thinking about snacks, you can either make smaller versions of the lunchboxes I talked about here, or do a little prep ahead of time and make a stash of all-in-one, freezer friendly options like a veggie packed cookie that can double as breakfast too.
Here are some of my favorite mom-tested, kid-approved recipes that store beautifully in the freezer (or keep in the fridge for up to one week).
Baked Sweet Potato Falafels
Spinach Quinoa Patties
Wild Blueberry Chia Seed Muffins
Morning Glory Cookies
Trail Mix Energy Bites
Cinnamon Raisin Hazelnut Energy Bites
TIPS FOR FREEZING
Wrap Well – Individually wrap each cookie/muffin or store items like falafel balls or energy bites in layers between parchment paper. Then keep sealed in a freezer bag or plastic container.
Label and Date – I don’t know how many times I’ve put something in the freezer only to find it months later and wonder what the heck it was and when I made it. To prevent this from happening (most of the time), I make sure to label each container with what’s inside and date it as well. I’ll either write directly on the plastic bag with a permanent marker or use a piece of making tape.
Properly Defrost – Ideally, most frozen foods should be defrosted in the fridge overnight as using the microwave can cause them to dry out. But I get it – and sometimes we just have to do what’s quick and easy! The toaster oven is also a great option for defrosting and reheating items like the sweet potato falafel. Energy bites and cookies can be thrown into a backpack frozen and should be defrosted and ready to eat by afternoon.
Use It Up – Most freezer-friendly foods have a shelf life of 2-3 months for optimal freshness. Energy balls tend to keep a bit longer. I like to keep an eye-level section in my freezer allocated for pre-made foods. This way I can easily see what I have and there’s less of a chance things become buried in the back never to be found again.