It's that time of year again! Back to school can be overwhelming for some parents because being creative with your child's lunch can be daunting! It can be additionally overwhelming if your child is entering kindergarten, middle school, or high school.. where is the time going!? I'm going to help you prep your child's lunch and take out all of the guessing and stress! Pack this stuff the night before and enjoy the mornings with your kiddos
1. Lunch Box:
It's important to have a container in your child's lunch box so that way the foods wont spill over. If you don't want to buy containers you can simply use plastic baggies! Check out some containers I recommend on Amazon: Bento Lunch Box Kids Lunch Box Leak Proof Lunch Box
When you have a lunch box that can hold different items safely you can pack left overs and other healthy options without having to create new meals!
2. Fresh is Key:
You want to pack fresh foods for your kids. You want to include a fruit, veggies, grains, and if you want to pack some protein then a sandwich! If you have adventurous kids then try sandwiches like hummus and cucumber on sprouted whole wheat bread. For those of you that have children that wouldn't even pick up that sandwich you can make the traditional take on lunch healthy by sneaking in some ingredients! Turkey sandwiches can be made with plain hummus instead of mayo and most kids won't even notice it! The key is to put fresh real food in the lunch box. Here are my favorite recommendations for healthy foods kids will truly eat:
Sliced apples with a dollop of peanut butter
Celery with peanut butter and raisin "ants" (use pretzels as the legs!)
Granola and mixed berries
Left over pastas and rice dishes
Left over pancakes with a side of berries and peanut butter
Turkey sandwich with hummus cut into cool shapes
Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter
Half of a nitrate free hotdog with a bun and ketchup
Peanut butter and banana sandwiches
Mixed veggies: steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots (thumbs up if your kid likes this!)
Side of steamed pea and carrots
3. Make it Ahead
Use your evenings to compile your child's lunch. Slice up the fruits and veggies and put them all back in the fridge so that your mornings are more enjoyable! If you do the preparing the night before then you won't be stressed in the morning with feeding your child, getting them dressed and ready for the day, and trying to put their lunch together.
4. Leave a note
I realize this may not work for young kids that can't read, but leaving a note that says "Have a great day!" "Go get 'em!" "Good luck on your test" can make a difference in a child's day. Make it small, don't go crazy on a napkin. Leaving something small wont embarrass them, and it will give them a little extra motivation.
5. Sunday Night Prep
If you aren't sure what your meals are going to be for the week you can do a big Sunday night prep for lunches for your kids. You can plan out what you want for them to have each day and then make large batches of it on Sunday! Want your kids to have fried rice with veggies at lunch for a couple of days? Make it Sunday and then you can eat it for lunch and give them some. Come up with two or three recipes and then you have something to pack during the week for yourself and your kiddo.
I find that when you plan everything out on Sunday then each night it's just like clockwork on putting it all together and then packing it up the next day for your kid.
6. Water, water, water
It's important to pack water for your child to drink during the day. Juices are mostly just sugar with little to no nutrients. Pack a water bottle that they can sip on through out the day and especially at lunch. Keeping your child hydrated is important and can even help them to focus through out the day. Here are a few of my favorite water bottles: Stainless steel water bottle Insulated steel sippy cup Kids sports bottle
You will notice that everything I recommend is bpa free and non toxic. It's important to pay attention to what chemicals can leak into your child's food from the containers we use. Keeping bpa free products is important because you child is less likely to be eating harmful chemicals through out the day!