Children’s lunch prep can seem like an endless cycle of packing before school and tossing after school. Your kids may help you pick foods they love and want you to pack for them, until they open their lunch boxes at school. Suddenly, when they get to school, they have changed their taste buds and no longer like what they once loved. How annoying is this? Plus, your kids are hungry during the school day – often leading to meltdowns and grumpy after school kids.
Successfully packing a child’s lunch is a delicate task – as we all know how picky children can be. It must be both appealing to them and their friends… remember when the kid brought the smelly egg salad sandwich to school and everyone made a big stink about it? (pun intended).
Here are a few tips for packing healthier lunches:
- Using higher-fiber, 100% whole-wheat breads to make sandwiches instead of white bread
- Pack fresh fruit instead of fruit snacks
- Pack fresh veggies
- Packing healthier dips (hummus, guacamole, and homemade ranch)
- Water or 100% fruit juice over soda
- Pack whole grains
Think outside of the same old sandwiches when packing lunches. Here are some options for sandwich alternatives.
Fruits and veggies can be baby corn, cherry tomatoes, melon balls, sliced mango, peas in a pod, fruit smoothie and pepper slices.
Some more portable grain products are tortillas, flat bread, naan, rice cakes, English muffin, oatmeal muffin, quinoa, pasta, brown rice and rice cakes.
Milk/alternatives: yogurt dip (tzatziki) for veggies, cheese slices, cheese and spinach filled pasta, pudding, cottage cheese cups, yogurt and milk based soup.
Meat/alternatives- hard-boiled egg, tuna/salmon/chicken salad, ham/turkey slices, hummus, chickpea salad, marinated cooked tofu and chicken nuggets.
When packing your children’s lunches remember to check with the school policy on any items not allowed. High allergy foods such as nuts and peanut butter are typically on the list. PB and J might be out of the question also. Here are some great sample lunches you could pack.
This lunch has a quesadilla, guacamole, tortilla chips, apple slices and pear slices. There are natural sugars, and no added preservatives. This lunch will keep your child full for the entire day. To keep things healthy pack water or milk/soy beverage.
Pack a lunch with all the colors of the rainbow. Vegetable spring rolls, pepper slices, blueberries, cubed cheese and a few squares of chocolate for a treat. This lunch is full of vegetables and nutrients. If your child is super hungry during the day pack a few slices of turkey/ham to keep them fuller, longer.
Think outside of the bread for this lunch! Bread often add extra calories and sugars.Turkey rollups are the perfect solution, filled with spinach and dressing of your child’s choice. Pair this meal with cinnamon apple slices, pretzels, celery, and a coconut macaroon.
How about breakfast for lunch! What child doesn’t love pancakes!? These 2 ingredient banana pancakes are healthy and tasty. Hard-boiled egg, strawberries, orange slices and a yogurt to go. Sunshine in a lunch box!
This is a great start to packing your kids amazing lunches they will enjoy making with you and eating at school. Make it a routine where they make the trip to the grocery store with you and pick out their favorites foods as well as assist in preparing the meal. Remember to plan your grocery shopping ahead of time and stick to your list, your budget will thank you.