Popcorn, chips, gummy sweets and chocolate bars are all very enticing options for kids, and tired parents but they are high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars. Picture: Instagram.
Popcorn, chips, gummy sweets and chocolate bars are all very enticing options for kids, and tired parents but they are high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars. Picture: Instagram.

Back to school: Make yummy healthy versions of your kid's favourite lunch box snacks

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Feb 12, 2021

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Make school lunches exciting with these delicious home-made treats your kids will look forward to finding in their lunch boxes.

With uniforms that need to be ironed and homework that needs to be checked, planning nutritious lunch box meals can become irksome – especially if the last few lunches you prepared were returned, untouched by your child.

Popcorn, chips, gummy sweets and chocolate bars are all very enticing options for kids, and tired parents but they are high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars. Therefore, junk foods will not keep children feeling satisfied and satiated for long as they cause rapid spikes in insulin which leads to a quick drop in blood sugar. This will undoubtedly leave your child feeling sleepy, grouchy and hungry for more.

Choose home-made, the perfect way to know exactly what’s going into your children’s mouths. Not only are you forgoing all the additives and preservatives in junk foods, but you’re also able to control exactly how much of each ingredient you use.

If you would like to substitute white sugar for honey or flavour your food with natural sweeteners you can. If your child has any allergens, when you make home-made snacks and treats you have peace of mind knowing that there is no risk of contamination.

Veggie chips

By @coconuttykitchen

The flavours of colourful assortment of veggies baked until crisp and golden, these veggie chips will satisfy all your salty, crunchy cravings. Perfect for lunch boxes, they can be stored in an airtight container to enjoy throughout the week, but trust us – they won’t last too long. To bulk up the snack, serve it with hummus (a protein rich and a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre) or cottage cheese (an excellent source of calcium which is good for growing bones).


1 Beetroot

1 Sweet Potato

1 Potato

Avocado oil



Gather your veggies. If they’re organic then leave the skins on and just scrub them properly and dry them. If they’re non organic then peel the skins off.

Use a sharp knife (or mandolin) to cut them into circles. The key is getting them as thin as possible and the same thinness so they cook evenly.

Toss all the veggie discs in your oil and a little salt so they’re coated well and then put them in a single layer onto your baking trays (line with paper).

Roast them in the oven at 160 degrees and after about 10 minutes turn them and then keep cooking until they start turning golden.

Remove the ones that look done and keep cooking the rest.

Be careful not to burn them – they should be golden but not burnt.

Once all your chips have been removed, turn the oven off, season with salt, and then put them back inside the warm oven (off) and leave them there to cool down and they will then become crunchy.

Serve with a creamy dip and enjoy.

Fruit leather roll ups

By @eat.pastarunfasta

Just as good as candy and bursting with fruity flavours these roll-ups are a great substitute for gummy sweets. The best part is that you can choose the fruit you use and alter the recipe to suit the palette of your child. Mango, peaches, guavas, berries and so much more can be used. Eat them as is or chop them up and serve with their morning bowl of cereal, over yoghurt or with granola – the options are plentiful.


2 cups strawberries

1 cup raspberries

2 tbs coconut sugar


Blend the berries in a food processor until smooth.

Add in sweetener of choice and stir.

Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread out until it is 3mm thick.

Preheat the oven to 75 degrees celsius.

Place the baking sheet in the oven for 4-6 hours (until the middle is not sticky).

Take out and cool.

After, remove from the baking sheet and cut into 1 inch strips and roll them up.

Cereal bars

By @cleanmondaymeals

Home-made cereal bars are the perfect any-time snack from breakfast right through to lunch. Jazz them up however you please. There are so many exciting additions to choose from including dried fruit, fresh fruit, nut butters, almond flakes, nuts, desiccated coconut and so much more. They can be whipped up within the hour for a healthy snack whenever hunger calls.


½ cup raw sugar or brown sugar

1 ¼ cups honey

⅓ cup coconut oil

¼ tsp fine sea salt

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups gluten free crisp rice cereal

2 ⅔ cups gluten free old fashioned oats

⅔ cups ground flax seed

½ - 1 cup chocolate chips


In a large bowl, combine your oats, crisped rice cereal and ground flax seed. Stir with a large spoon until well combined. Set aside.

Measure out sugar, peanut butter, honey, coconut oil, and sea salt and place in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil. Stirring the whole time, boil for exactly 1 minute so mixture combines and sugars dissolve. Take the pan off the heat and add in the vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Pour over your oat/rice crispy mixture. Stir until well combined.

Let this mixture sit for about 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, Grab a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan sized and some parchment paper. Place the cookie sheet on a large piece of parchment paper and trace around the outside of it. Cut it out and place this on the inside of your cookie sheet. It should fit perfectly. This will help later to keep the granola bars in one piece before cutting up.

Next pour out granola bar mixture onto the cookie sheet. Press with a second cookie sheet so it is flat. Then immediately spread your chocolate chips on the top and press again.

Allow to cool. You can put it in your fridge or leave it on the counter to cool.

Once the bars have cooled completely, take a knife and cut the bars into the size of your choosing. (cut 5 bars across and 7 bars down, making 35 bars total).

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