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4 Freezer-Friendly Lunch and Snack Tricks continued...

Mini Muffins: Homemade muffins can be a healthful alternative to processed snacks and junk food when made with mostly whole wheat flour, moderate amounts of canola oil (2 to 3 tablespoons per 12 muffins), and minimal added sugar. Just pop a serving of mini muffins in each zip-lock bag and store in the freezer. Pack them in the brown bag, and they’ll be soft and ready to eat by lunch or snack time.

Spanakopita Triangles: These spinach-and-cheese-filled phyllo dough triangles are available in the freezer section of some supermarkets, such as Trader Joe’s. Brown them ahead of time in your toaster oven and wrap them up for tomorrow’s lunch or snack.

4 Fun Foods to Pack as a Snack or Lunch Treat

The following foods double as a satisfying snack or as a fun treat in a bag lunch because they contribute some protein and some fat (and some have fiber).

Nuts or Trail Mix: If age- and allergy-appropriate, nuts offer a satisfying combination of fiber, protein, and smart fats. Trail mix pumps up the carbohydrate calories by adding dried fruit to the nuts. A 1-ounce snack-size serving of mixed nuts (i.e., Planters NUTrition Heart Healthy Mix) contributes around 170 calories, 6 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, and 8 grams monounsaturated fat.

Cheese Sticks: Individually wrapped cheese sticks are available in part-skim mozzarella and 2% sharp cheddar, and even pepper jack. Two part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks have around 160 calories, 14 grams protein, 2 grams carbohydrate, 0 gram fiber, 6 grams saturated fat, and 40% Daily Value for calcium.

Kettle Korn Fun: For something a little sweet but crunchy, pop up some Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop Kettle Korn (or similar) and pack half of the 2.9-ounce bag of popcorn for a brown-bag treat or snack. Each serving satisfies with 140 calories, 4 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, and 1 gram saturated fat.

Yogurt and Fruit Cups: Stir 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries into 8 ounces of low-fat plain yogurt to make your own naturally sweetened yogurt cup. It has a nice balance of nutrients—185 calories, 12 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 2.5 grams saturated fat, and about 40% Daily Value for calcium and 30% for vitamin C.

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