[Back to School Series] Lunch
[Back to School Series] Lunch
Convenience meets healthy - for lunchboxes!
It’s that time of year! No need to stress over the task of what to pack in your kids’ lunches- we are here to the rescue! I have made a small series of videos to give you the low-down on some basics for fueling your kids (the right way!) during the school year. In this post we’ll explore what to send in your children’s lunch boxes.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when making healthy diet-related lifestyle changes. Remember to take it one step at a time- you don’t have to immediately start buying everything organic or completely transform your pantry. A first step to work on would be to eliminate packaged/processed foods. Start incorporating whole foods. Then make the switch to organic when possible. Remember this is a journey- as long as you have the end goal in sight, every step you make to achieve a whole-food diet is moving you in the right direction.
We aren’t perfect- sometimes packaged foods are a little more convenient to meal-prep for the kids lunches for the week. We buy deli-style turkey (nitrite and nitrate free). You can pack these as “roll-ups” for your child’s lunch- we like to avoid grains as much as possible, so a few “roll-ups” will do just fine for a protein boost. You could also do something as simple as boiled eggs - Tristan could eat a whole batch if we let him! We’re fans of veggie burgers which are packed full of protein. They are in the frozen section at Costco.
What to drink for lunch? Water, water, water! Especially during the warmer months, kids need to drink plenty of water, especially at school. We love stainless steel reusable cups (with straws - SnugFlask are our favorite) - water also tastes great out of glass (Lifefactory bottles with silicone sleeves are great). Occasionally we will buy cartons of coconut water for extra electrolytes and some flavor, but mostly our kids ASK for water. A fun way to mix up the water routine is with adding a slice of citrus fruit or mint herb leaf.
Remember- let your children be apart of the process in the kitchen. Let them explore foods and try not to give them any preconceived notions about certain foods- you might be surprised what they actually enjoy! If we handed Tristan a piece of celery by itself, he would probably turn his nose up to it. But by turning it into an activity he can be apart of- like making “ants on a log”- he can not only help by spreading the almond butter on it and adding the raisins (or goji berries), he also gets excited about eating it!
Another favorite in our house is good ol’ veggies and hummus. You can either make your own batch of hummus, or use store bought. Personally we buy the pre-packaged little cups of organic hummus from Costco since they are already portioned out and easy to toss into a lunch box. We dip cherry tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, radishes, snap peas- you name it. Let’s be honest- we just love hummus!
A dish that frequents our table is chicken salad. This is something easy you can make at the beginning of the week and make it last anywhere from 3-5 days. We buy a whole chicken and cook it on Sunday night, then add grapes, celery, and of course mayo (because EVERYONE in my house loves it). You can put some on a piece of lettuce and have a delicious lettuce-wrap for the adults. You can pack it in a child’s lunch by itself and they can eat it with a spoon. It can also be used as a dip for carrots or any other of your favorite veggies. This is a popular and versatile dish in our house! Spice it up with a little Madras curry powder, fresh dill or just salt & pepper.
Our kids’ lunchbox:
Water bottle or coconut water carton
Fresh fruit - apple, banana, pear
Protein: turkey roll up or GF sandwich, organic cheese stick
Crunchy: Ants on a Log, Plantain or root chips with hummus
Snack: dried fruit or nuts
Things we stay away from…
Juices (better to just eat fresh fruit)
Sports drinks (full of sugars and dyes)
Caffeine drinks (linked to cardiac issues)
Super-processed snacks (Cheetos, Cheese-Its)
Lunchables with ultra-processed meat, cheese and grains
CANDY! (need I say more?)