Love it, Like it, Hate it: Lunchables + Snack Packs

It’s back-to-school time, which means packing snacks for lunches and after-school practice. Unfortunately, most Lunchable-type packs, and even snacks packs are loaded with sugar, oil and salt.

To help you get the most nutritional bang from kid-friendly lunch options, we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly the best and worst of grab & go options in stores.



No pre-made lunchables on shelves are a “LOVE IT” – best answer is to make your own with whole grain crackers, fresh fruit, veggies lean protein (grilled chicken, turkey + cheese roll-ups, Greek yogurt chicken salad, etc)

Sargento Balanced Break Snack Packsnuts, cheese, dried fruit. Simple, clean ingredients. Only 190 mg sodium.

Fruit + Cheese, Fruit + Nut, Fruit + Nut Butter Snack Packs – DIY, or store-bought (tip: Walmart has excellent selection)



P3 Portable Protein Packs by Oscar MayerGood protein + heart-smart fats, but…

  • Sodium 580+ mg per serving
  • Meats made with added carrageenan, phosphates, cornstarch, sugars…

Hillshire Snacking Small Plates – Tuscan Chicken

  • Decent protein, but still contains white crackers + chocolate-covered almonds



Lunchables – any + all varieties.

White flour, oil, salt, sugar are the foundation of these meals, with added nitrites, preservatives, some have artificial sweeteners acesulfame potassium and sucralose; some have artificial food dyes like Red 40 & Blue 1.

Natural Foods Store “Lunch Kit”

Read labels, otherwise you may find yourself with a seemingly more “natural” lunch kit like this one with 500 calories, 1110 mg sodium, and more than half a day’s worth of saturated fat.



Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in|The Times-Picayune!   And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD