It’s the ongoing dilemma moms (and some dads) face every day: what to put in the kids’ lunchbox. Once you figure out the main meal and throw in a piece of fruit, there’s still the snack to consider.

Instead of tossing in a bag of chips, consider these tasty alternatives, which offer some nutrition to help young students conquer the classroom in the long hours of the afternoon. They also make for good after-school snacks.

Related: Does Your Diet Pass the MyPlate Test?

Kale chips 

Kale chips are a great way to introduce your picky eater to green vegetables. They are crispy like potato chips and have a mild taste. Kale chips are easy to make, so you can even enlist your child to help. Here’s what you need (via All Recipes):

1 bunch kale, (about 1 pound) 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Set out two ungreased baking sheets with sides. Rinse the kale under cold running water and pat dry. The kale must be completely dry in order to crisp up. Roughly chop the leaves into bite size pieces without stems.

In a large bowl, toss the leaves with olive oil and salt. Coat well. Transfer to the baking sheets, spreading them out in an even layer. Don’t let them touch. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice, until crisp.

Related: The Solution to Smarter Snacking

Snack mix

trail mixA tasty mix of nuts, cereal and dried fruit can provide both protein and fiber to fuel schoolwork and play time. Be creative; you can even try dropping some of the ingredients in dark chocolate on occasion to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Be considerate of kids with food allergies, and don’t pack a nut-containing snack if your child attends a nut-free school. However, it might be just fine for them to munch this in the backseat of your car on the way to an after-school activity. (Photo: Svetlana Foote/Shutterstock)

Simple snack mix (via

1 cup whole grain cereal

¼ cup dried fruit of your choice

¼ cup nuts, such as walnut pieces, slivered almonds, or pistachios

¼ cup small, whole-grain snack crackers or pretzels

Measure out all ingredients and toss in a bowl. Separate into individual bags for ready-to-pack snacks. 

Related: Chef's Input in Cafeterias Leads Students to Eat More Healthy Foods

Apple sandwiches

Use apple slices to house your kid's favorite spread (like almond butter or peanut butter) along with some granola and chocolate chips. You can add dried fruits like raisins or cranberries, too. This snack is high in fiber and easy to make the night before. (Photo: Whole Foods Market)

apple sandwichesApple sandwiches with granola and peanut butter (via Whole Foods)

2 small apples, cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds

1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter

2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons granola

If your child won't be eating these tasty treats right away, start by brushing the apples slices with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Spread one side of half of the apple slices with peanut or almond butter, then sprinkle with chocolate chips and granola. Top with the remaining apple slices, pressing down gently to make the sandwiches. 

Muriel Vega is a writer with a passion for budget travel and staying safe while abroad. A Georgia State University graduate, she has over 6 years of editorial experience and has written for The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Billfold, among other outlets. In her free time, you can find her baking pies, playing with her two dogs and cat, or planning her next vacation. She spends way too much time on Twitter, one of her favorite social media channels. Her favorite safety tip: Make sure you have all the necessary shots before you go abroad.