Lifestyle & Nutrition Blog
Packing School Lunches
Just yesterday we were planning our Fourth of July picnics and in a flash we are starting another year of crazy school schedules and packing school lunches. Let’s not kid ourselves, packing healthy school lunch’s takes work. Speaking from experience (packing lunches for 3 kids over the past 20 years), I have learned a few tricks to make that job easier.
Tip #1 - SHOP and PREP for school lunches on the weekend. People, I can’t stress this enough!!! There is nothing worse on Monday mornings than the mad scramble through your fridge and pantry to “find” healthy items for your child’s lunch. Stocking up on healthy lunch foods, washing fruits and veggies, cutting up cheese and portioning out snacks (nuts, dried fruit, popcorn), will save you loads of time on weekdays. Also, have a number of containers on hand that are suitable for packing lunch items. Some parents like divided containers or Bento boxes that have 3 or 4 sections for different foods and one lid which keeps things really simple for your child (and you). Here are a few good options for lunch-style containers that you may find helpful: http://www.easylunchboxes.com/ http://www.lunchskins.com/
Tip #2 – INVOLVE YOUR KIDS. Poll your kids for lists of foods that they would like to eat for lunch. Use grocery shopping as an educational experience, remember if kids see where food comes from and they help pick and prepare it, they are more likely to eat it! Get your kids involved by washing fruits and vegetables (great task for the younger kids) and portioning (counting) things like grapes, raisons, nuts carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cheese cubes etc. into containers that can be quickly grabbed from the pantry or fridge and stowed into lunch boxes. Remember to put foods on easy to reach shelves in your fridge and pantry to make them more accessible for kids.
Tip #3 KEEP IT SIMPLE- Remember, most kids like things simple including food. Pick a variety of fruits and veggies, proteins and snacks that your child has approved and prepare enough to last the week. Don’t forget that leftovers are golden! Items such as grilled chicken, cooked vegetables, extra pasta or brown rice are great starting points for building school lunches. Combining these foods into bowls or rolling them into tortillas topped with avocado and some dressing can be a nice change from a sandwich.
-“Mini” versions of foods are easier for little hands, try mini pitas, mini veggie and cheese kabobs, baby mozzarella cheese balls, mini meatballs, cherry tomatoes…………
-check out these healthy pre-packaged items that can be real time savers
-Kids love notes in their lunches, even a post-it with an encouraging message will make their day.
-frozen grapes in a lunch box can double as an ice pack and a cool snack!
Enjoy and we hope everyone has a great 1st day back to school!!
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