Lunch dessert for kids is a slippery slope (not unlike lunch beer for adults). If you give in too often, it becomes expected, demanded even. And if you never give in, well that’s no fun and who wants to be multigrain-with-sprouts-mom all of the time? When my daughter made me an elaborate thank you card for the single (likely stale) Hershey kiss that I slipped into her lunchbox, I realized that maybe I’d been a bit stingy with the sweets and decided to loosen up a little. Here are a few ideas for when you don’t want to go full twinkie, but want to give them a little treat in their lunch. While they aren’t necessarily low in sugar, they do offer some nutritional value while still feeling like dessert, require no elaborate baking, and are portable enough to last hours in a room temperature lunchbox. We’d love to hear what you give as (kind of) healthy treats.

Modern take on the hiker’s favorite–my kids may just like saying GORP (good old raisins and peanuts), but they seem to inhale any combination of dried fruit and nuts if a few chocolate chips are thrown into the mix. Recent add-ins include coconut flakes, goji berries, dried mulberries and cashews.

I’ve sold this one as “crustless apple pie” and it’s gone over well. Apple slices with a squeeze of lemon juice for tartness and to prevent browning, a shake of cinnamon, and a little raw or brown sugar. Pack in a small container and shake to evenly coat the slices.

And a newly discovered packaged favorite, organic chocolate covered dried banana bites from the company Barnana. They’re labeled the “super potassium snack” and, marketing aside, they’re divine.


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