School has been in full effect here for about a month now. I think I might be getting close to a new routine, hopefully 😀 . So I wanted to share with you how I make a healthy school lunch for my kiddos.
First let me say, this year was a little harder for me than past years with the addition of our new family member (pictured to the right). I was sad when the kids had to go back to school and their new brother certainly misses all of their love and attention!
Are you back into the swing of things yet?
If you are as busy as we are thinking about school lunches is almost an afterthought because you aren’t used to it yet.
Are you sending them off to school with all of the easy, processed foods? Just grab a bag of this or a container of that and run our the door?
With a little bit of planning, you can have just as easy of a healthy school lunch as you can the alternative.
What makes a healthy school lunch?
I always try to offer a fruit & a veg along with the main dish that has a whole grain or healthy carb + protein.
Whole grains provide a steady source of energy and fuels their brains.
- It can be as simple as changing from white bread to whole grain bread. If they are resistant to that change try making their sandwiches with one piece of whole grain bread and the other your typical white bread. Once they get used to that switch to all whole grain. They will then become more open to whole grain crackers, tortillas, pasta, etc.
- Read here for some tips on whole grains.
Protein helps stabilize their blood sugar & stimulates brain activity.
- You can vary your protein with tuna, natural peanut butter, beans, nuts, nitrate free lunch meat & even leftovers. You’d be surprised most kids don’t mind cold leftovers from the night before. Or buy a good thermos and it will keep soups and similar things hot for hours.
Fruits and vegetables provide different health benefits that keep you healthy and regular.
- This might take the most patience and perseverance. It might take a while for your kids to get on board with fruits and veggies but don’t give up! Keep putting the fruit and veggies in there and try these tips.
- Give them a dip, like hummus
- Let them plant their own veggies, they are more likely to want them if they grew them
- Have them pick which ones they want
- Rotate through different easy fruits & veggies, so they don’t get bored
- Try adding a new one they’ve never tried before each week
Let them help
- Kids like to give their input but they also like to be a part of the excitement. Let them help put their lunch together. Older kids can cut up the fruit and veg. Younger kids can put the food in the baggies or tupperware. Kids will be more excited to eat a lunch they packed, trust me.
- Here are some more tips on how to get your kids to eat healthier.
Try some of these recipes to add to your healthy school lunch.
- Cabbage & Snap Pea Salad
- Quinoa Burger
- Broccoli Kale Slaw
- Celery Salad
- Kale Muffins
- Clean Energy Bars
- Rice & Beans Haystack
- Potato Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Cucumber Salad
- Barley Salad
- Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookes (for a little treat)
These make great tips for our lunches too, so definitely not just for kids! Most of all, make it easy for you and your kids to enjoy as healthy of a lunch as possible.
What do you do to ensure you or your kids have a healthy lunch?