Fresh vegetables, ripe fruit, calcium-rich yogurt, whole grains, energizing nuts and seeds — that’s a lot to pack into a lunchbox. But it’s what you want to pack into your kid (not to mention yourself). Fear not. Back-to-school season offers new lunchbox-ready products promising to ease parents’ anxiety while providing maximum kid nourishment.
Greens Vegan Original Superfood Crisp ($1.99, 40-gram bar), made in Vero Beach, is gluten-free organic and vegan. Primary ingredients include peanut butter, brown rice crisps and chia seeds, but what you taste is wheat grass and chlorella. Green super food, yes; delicious treat, no. Despite the crispy rice, the texture is chewy, verging on dental cement. One bar contains 160 calories, 7 fat grams, 6 protein grams, 115 milligrams sodium and 5 grams fiber.
Veggie-rich, organic, gluten-free, vegan and chocolate, too? That’s Betty Lou’s Just Great Stuff Organic Chocolate Dream Greens ($1.89, 42-gram bar). The question is, can kale and chocolate coexist in one bar? Not happily. Austere flavor and dry texture make mass kid appeal unlikely. One serving has 180 calories, 8 fat grams, 4 protein grams, 25 milligrams sodium and 2 grams fiber.
Trade greens for Greek yogurt with kid-friendly Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bars ($1.79, 40-gram bar). Available in six fruity, grainy flavors, they strike the right balance between crunchy and chewy, healthful and fun. The shelf-stable yogurt lends creamy mouth feel without the tartness. One cherry almond bar contains 160 calories, 6 fat grams, 7 protein grams, 45 milligrams sodium and 5 fiber grams.
Fun food meets serious nutrition with Navitas Naturals Power Snacks($8.99, 227 grams). Available in three flavors, these chewy, yummy, organic, vegan, gluten-free cubes are loaded with super foods like goji, chia and hemp. Blueberry hemp snacks provide an antioxidizing punch and taste sweet and buttery, besides. A 28-gram serving (a small handful) contains 130 calories, 7 fat grams, 3 protein grams, 40 milligrams sodium and 2.5 fiber grams.
All these products are available at natural food stores, but remember, man does not live by bars and cubes alone. The American Dietetic Association recommends pairing power snacks with fresh produce to boost energy and fill you up.