The long, lazy days of summer are on their way out and it’s time to go back to school. Kids may or may not be excited about their annual return to reading, writing and arithmetic — but at least you can brighten up their desk-bound days with some cruelty-free bites.
Plus, with treat temptations everywhere, it’s a good idea to stock their lunchboxes with tasty, filling snacks that’ll help them steer clear of candy-crammed vending machines. Here are 10 awesome vegan snack ideas for back to school:
Nut butter with pretzels or apples
Rich in protein, healthy fats, and phytochemicals, nut butter is an awesome midday snack. Pair it with pretzels, apples or another favorite dipper, and it makes for a satisfying, tasty treat. There are many brands available in stores, or you can even make your own nut butters at home.
PB&J bars by Trader Joe’s
Everyone loves a PB&J sammie, but that can be a little too filling for a mid-afternoon or evening snack. Instead, snag Trader Joe’s PB&J bars. They’re small, packable, and have that winning combo of sweet meets salty.
Vegan jerky by Primal Strips
While Slim Jims are off limits for vegan eaters (and seriously, who would want to eat those?), Primal Strips are an awesome alternative. Made with soy, seitan and shiitake mushrooms, they’re wonderfully meaty, and come in a whole host of delicious flavors. Try the Texas BBQ, the Teriyaki or the Thai Peanut.
Hummus snack pack
Everyone loves hummus, and it’s the perfect nutrient-dense snack to help students power through the school day. Sabra, Wild Garden and Trader Joe’s make snack packs, all ideal for grabbing-and-going.
Fruit is always a win. From super-portable options like bananas, apples, and mandarin oranges, to bunches of grapes and packs of pineapple, there’s an endless array of choices for even the pickiest eaters. It’s fun to experiment with exotic fruits, too. Surprise your offspring with starfruit, papaya or lychees. Nature’s candy is rich in vitamins and minerals, and it tastes amazing — a surefire way to keep kids away from corn syrup.
Nuts are heart-healthy, protein-powered and kid-friendly. Lots of companies make snack-size packs, and there’s every kind of nut available, from almond to macadamia to walnut. Planter’s even makes different Nut-Trition mixes formulated for different needs, from Omega 3 to Energy.
School-age kids and teens are always on the go, so sometimes a meal-in-a-bar is the answer to keep them from getting too hangry (hungry + angry = hangry). Lara Bars are loaded with protein, organic ingredients, and all kinds of vitamins and minerals, and many of the varieties are vegan.
The world of dairy-free yogurt has exploded with options in the past few years, so there are tons of choices. Try So Delicious Dairy Free’s strawberry banana coconut yogurt, Kite Hill’s blueberry almond milk yogurt or Silk’s tropical pineapple soy yogurt.
The Complete Cookie
If you’ve got a particularly active kiddo in your life, Lenny & Larry’s Complete Cookie is perfect because it’s packed with protein — and it tastes like a treat. It comes in flavors including birthday cake, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, double chocolate and loads of others. Seriously, what kid doesn’t want a cookie?
While some kids might be averse to the idea of eating seaweed, lots of others love these salty, crunchy snacks. They come in individual packs and multiple flavors, including options like wasabi and chipotle. Look for brands like Seasnax, Annie Chun’s and GimMe Organic. You can also snag them at Trader Joe’s, Costco and lots of other low-cost retailers.