The school year is officially in full swing! It seems like just moments ago we were packing up our beach bags and enjoying long days by the pool, but here we are with a new school year ahead of us and the fall season patiently waiting just around the corner. As school kicks off, our schedules change and we tend to adopt firmer routines for ourselves and for our kids, which means planning things like meals, snacks, bedtimes, and who is getting which child to soccer practice.
If we’ve learned anything about the hectic schedules that often accompany the beginnings of a new school year, it’s that finding healthy and balanced snacks and meals to prepare ahead of time is the key to making sure you (and your family) can keep it all balanced as you juggle everything at once! We’ve rounded up all of our favorite snacks that give us fuel throughout the day and tide us over when sitting down for a proper meal might not fit a busy weekday schedule.
The Best Back-To-School Snacks
1. Bring in the veggies
One of THE most convenient snacks to munch on at home or even if you’re heading out of the house are sliced veggies. Veggies are naturally low in fat and calories, and are packed with the nutrients your body needs on a daily basis including potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin A. We like to slice up a big Tupperware of carrots, celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers to bring along with us as we’re on the go throughout the day. If you’re wanting a little something more than veggies alone and you know you’ll be out of the house for a while, try packing a small Tupperware of hummus to dip your veggies in. This homemade recipe is our favorite, but store-bought is fine if you’re too busy to whip out the food processor!
2. Grab a bar
By far, keeping healthy protein bars on hand is the easiest way to fill up a hungry stomach when you’re too busy to sit down for a meal, if you’re on your way to work out, or if you’ve just picked up a car full of crabby, hungry kids from school. Our FitJoy bars are grain-free and come in flavors like Chocolate Peanut Butter, Lemon Square, Cookies & Cream, and Cookie Dough Brownie—all of which boast 20 grams of protein, and are sweet and easy to snack on without any of the processed ingredients that typically give other bars a sweet taste. Plus, there's a fun-size fit for the kiddos, too.
If bars aren’t your thing, snacks like a small bag of pretzels (FitJoy’s are grain-free and dusted with Himalayan pink salt), or white cheddar puffs are easy to serve in the car or perfect to add on as a side for kids lunches. We’ve just introduced our new grain-free puffs in kid-friendly flavors like White Cheddar, Nacho Cheese, and, for the more adventurous palette, Honey Sriracha.
3. Keep the fruit bowl full
Fruit is so diverse in its flavors, its ways of presentation, and its ability to actually fill you up or to act as more of a light snack. For these reasons, it makes our list of favorite snacks because it’s ideal for so many different types of occasions. If we’re running out of the house early in the morning to make it to a class, we’ll grab a banana and a little bit of almond butter to keep us satiated until lunch. On the other end of the spectrum, we love snacking on grapes, blueberries, and raspberries as a little pick-me-up between lunch and dinner. Fruit is cholesterol-free, packed with essential nutrients our bodies need to function, and is a great source of fiber. Some fruits have a higher natural sugar content than others, and apples, in particular, can actually simulate the same response in your body as caffeine can, as vitamins and nutrients in apples are slowly released throughout the body, making you feel more alert and awake, like you would with a cup of coffee!
4. Try some trail mix
Similar to grabbing a protein bar or a bag of pretzels, keeping trail mix at the ready in your kitchen or a bag of nuts and seeds in the car is a great way to ensure you’re getting protein throughout the day. Nut-heavy trail mix (maybe skip out on the mix filled with M&M’s) is high in calories but boast lots of nutrients and comprised of unsaturated fatty acids, so if the school day gets busy and lunch has somehow slipped right past you, snacking on a bag of trail mix with dried fruit and nuts can be the perfect snack to sustain you until you have time to sit down for a meal.
We like to make our own trail mix at home because it’s easier on our wallets, we get to hand-select the types of nuts, seeds, and fruits we want to include in the mix, you have control over how much oil, salt, or sugar is added to the mix, giving you the option to make it healthier than a lot of the trail mixes available at grocery stores.
5. Yogurt parfaits
A perfect after-school snack or a light breakfast to kick off your morning, yogurt parfaits are an easy way to get protein, nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and not to mention a hefty dose of probiotics—which are beneficial for maintaining gut health—in one easy meal. If you’re interested in upping your probiotic intake each day, look for yogurt that contains live and active cultures on its label, specifically S. thermophilus or L. bulgaricus. Additionally, yogurts with more than 10 grams of sugar per serving don’t offer the same health benefits of their lower-in-sugar counterparts.
If you feel frozen as you stare at the multitude of options in the yogurt aisle and could use a helpful guide, or if you struggle with dairy issues and don’t know where to begin, there are loads of coconut, almond milk, and cashew-based yogurts on the market that still boast all of the benefits of traditional yogurt, but without the dairy included. Make your standard cup of yogurt an elevated snack by layering in chopped fruit and granola or grain-free pretzels for extra sustenance to carry you through the day!
Emma Trevino is a freelance writer who splits her time between Los Angeles and Wimberley, a small town situated on the Blanco River just outside of Austin. She's combined her passion for wellness and beauty with her knack for telling stories to help brands communicate their narrative in an honest way. When she's not writing, you can find her swimming in the river, growing veggies in her garden, finding tasty natural wines, and reading on her porch.