When you are ready to tackle the task of school lunch prep, picking protein, fruit and veggie based lunches is a great place to start!
Always avoid sugary snacks like candy, high sugar cereal, and juice boxes that can lead to countless health issues down the road as well as impairs ability to focus and often leads to dreaded tantrum filled “crashes”.
1. Getting the kids involved
Getting the kids involved is perfect when beginning the process of packing healthy lunches. Taking the time to listen to what my daughter wants to eat and providing choices for her often helps with getting what I pack for her actually eaten! Getting kids to pack with you and bringing them to the grocery store and listening to their input can help make them feel responsible and involved.
2. Appealing presentation
I always love the taste of food more when it looks pretty, and I apply that to kids lunches as well! This can be as simple as getting a fresh variety of colourful fruits, veggies, cheeses and meats in a well organized clean container.
Investing in some quality compartmentalized containers can be helpful for getting a variety of snack options effectively packed.
3. Making your own snacks to avoid the processed version
Making your own snacks like fruit leather, granola bars, and pepperoni and cheese can be a good way to incorporate the guilt-free version of common favourites. I started making these no bake energy bites with my daughter. They are protein packed and she thinks they taste like cookies!
Please note: Always be aware of your schools policy with nuts (especially peanuts).
4. Breaking it down
Take the guesswork out of how much to pack by breaking it down into categories:
Main course - sandwich, wrap, homemade "lunchables"
Snack - homemade fruit leather, energy bites, granola bars, yogurt, cheese, seaweed snacks
Fruit - banana, apple or pear slices, grapes, berries
Vegetable - carrot sticks, celery, snap peas, cucumber slices *adding dips like hummus or even homemade ranch can help keep veggies interesting
Water bottle - lots of water to stay hydrated
6. Plan ahead
Making sure to leave yourself ample time to prepare is key to success. Shopping for the week and preparing as much as you can ahead of time is key for calm organized mornings and successful school days. Here are some recipe ideas to make ahead of time for snacks.
Some of them even sneak some extra fruit and veggies in which I have yet to see a parent complain about (myself included)!
To sum it up, planning and putting together school lunches doesn’t have to be a stress filled chore. By following these six strategies, I have found that my daily routine and on-the-go mom lifestyle runs much smoother, and my daughter’s lunches have been consistently polished off. I hope some or all of these ideas are helpful for other parents as well!
Read more about the author