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Healthy Snacks To Pack For Your School-Going Child


Among my conversations with fellow moms, especially those with school-going children, often we wonder about the snacks that we should pack for them to munch on while in school. Our opinions are always quite varied on what we should pack and what we should not. So with this regard, I decided to speak to a Nutritionist for some insights. I spoke to Santina Nyaga who is also a blogger and mom of 3 school-going children –Michelle, Jeremy and Emma.

Santina says that when packing snacks for the children, it is important to ensure you pack healthy and nutritious items. Ensure snacks come from either 2 or 3 of the four major food groups which are: Fruit and vegetables, cereals, bread, pasta and potatoes, milk and dairy and other animal and plant proteins like meat, fish, eggs, poultry and the different kind of beans. Here’s her sample snack plan:


Simple finger foods are the way to go for them. Children at this age have high nutritional needs but yet have small appetites. Here’s a daily plan for them:


10:00am-  Fruit, plain yoghurt sweetened with honey or real fruit yoghurt

4:00pm-  Grated apple pancakes, a glass of milk/milo


10:00am-  Fruit salad of melon, mango, pineapple

4:00pm-   Dinner rolls spread with peanut butter/kids favorite bread spread


10:00am-  Homemade mandazis

4:00pm-   Fruit, cheese tomato sandwich


10:00am-  Orange, homemade popcorn

4:00pm-  Fresh fruit juice/smoothie


10:00am-   Tangerines, garlic bread sandwich
4:00pm-   French toast with a glass of milk



As kids get older you have a wide variety of foods to choose from. It is also a great idea to involve them in making choices for school snacks. Some ideas of what to pack may include:


10:00am-  Baked vegetable/chicken/meat samosas and fruit

After School Snack-  Scotch eggs, milk/hot chocolate


10:00am-  Homemade popcorn and fruit

After School Snack-  Handful of nuts e.g. almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts


10:00am-  Left-over chicken sandwich with tomatoes

After School Snack-  Scotch eggs, fruit yoghurt


10:00am-  Chapati rolls filled with a vegetable salad

After School Snack-  French toast, hot milk/cocoa


10:00am-  Sesame seed balls, tangerine/orange

After School Snack:  Yoghurt with slices of fresh fruit

Other snacks that can be included: Mini pizzas slices of homemade fruit bread, veggie burgers, dried fruit, and fruit kebabs.


Helpful Notes:

– Packing snacks for a toddler, a six-year-old and a pre- teen should mainly be guided by their growth needs.

– Toddlers and young kids below 11 years are at an age where they are very active, hence their energy and nutritional needs are greater than an adult’s. They have smaller appetites and need to snack more often teenagers.

– Between 11-18 years, the energy and protein needs required are 80% more than adults. They need more vitamin C intake during these growth spurt periods and if they are girls, make sure they have extra iron especially if they have started their periods. For boys, ensure they take in more calcium to help in bone development.

-If your kids do not like boiled sweet potatoes and arrow roots, try baking them. Another alternative would be to slice the boiled arrow roots or sweet potatoes then make a light batter of wheat flour or chick pea flour and eggs then shallow fry them.

-A lot of time for preparing these dishes can be saved if you make them ahead of time, items like mandazis, pizza dough, and bread dough freeze really well. Nuts like cashews, almonds, macadamia and peanuts can be made ahead of time and kept in air tight containers.”


Thanks Santina for sharing. So what do you think about this menu? What other healthy snacks would you recommend for school going children? 

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featured image courtesy: mama azizi



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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. Mummy tales, apart from online mom forums this topic keeps coming up again and again at school during parents meetings. Recently I was at a parents meeting where it was revealed that some of us pack all manner of junk including soda and if that wasnt enough having steers delivered at school!!!

    On the opposite end of the spectrum some of us do not even bother to pack any snack or pack the same item repeatedly leaving the child to become a habitual ‘beggar’…asking others for a share of their snacks.

    One tip the head teacher shared that I liked was the idea of delegating. So even if you’re busy or away from home your child is still assured of a healthy snack. Make a list with your child or children of healthy snacks they would enjoy then shop for the items on a weekly basis or have your househelp prep the snacks if you don’t have the time. make a timetable the househelp can easily follow or delegate to older children to pack their own and that of younger siblings. *This works great in my house.

    Santina, these are excellent menus. In my household I have kids between the ages of 13 and 5 months. I have one menu for everyone which makes it easier but I do keep in mind that the 13 year old has a bigger appetite so we do pack larger or extra portions for him.

    In addition to the snacks you have mentioned I also include hot dogs, sausages, mini bites, meatballs, homemade (mini) pizza, homemade scones, donuts, veggie sticks (carrot & cucumber)homemade (mini) burgers, trail mix (mixture of dry breakfast cereal, nuts, dried fruit & pretzel pieces or mini crackers ), homemade granola or cereal bars. For a variety of sandwiches one can also do ham & cheese, roasted turkey & cream cheese, tuna salad or egg salad on a whole wheat bun or roll.

  2. Worthy read indeed. The challenge now is on how to ensure that your kid actually eats the packed snacks as opposed to dishing them out to his / her pals. Most schools break time is 15-20 mins and the kids are normally torn between playing and snacking (at least in my case) . I like Santina’s meal plans totally. I swapped my daughter’s meal plan to give her dose of fruits at home for the 5 o’clock snack since she gets home at 5 pm from school. 10 o’clock snack is my nightmare – will try the new ideas shared here. Thanks.

  3. I totally love the snack plan shared by Santina. Thank you so much.
    My daughters (6 years old) have joined a new school and i had no idea what type of snacks to pack for them. This has really eased my troubles.

    • Awwww glad to hear that the article was of help, Joy! I’ll be sure to let Santina know. Best wishes to you and your daughters.

  4. Wow!this is wonderful.my child(4years of age) is starting school tomorrow and i was so unprepared for what to pack for him during the 10a.m snack break.All thanks to you i now have a plan as well as a budget plan.


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