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Healthy Lunchbox Swap-

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It’s back to school time! Lunch-making can be fun in those first few weeks but gets old quickly. When burnout hits, it’s easy to start reaching for the Lunchables, but there are better, healthier ways to make lunches that won't leave you exhausted!

School Lunch Tips

1. Don’t be scared to get your kids in the kitchen to help. It’s the key to getting them to eat their lunch. When your kids feel like they have a say so or can help, it ends up helping you! They do some of the work and help guarantee an empty lunchbox comes home.

2. Scale their box. If your child is coming home starving or with a lot of extras, it's time to scale their lunches and decide if what you are sending is working.

  1. If your child is consistently coming home with leftover food, you may need to reduce the amount you’re giving them OR you may need to ask them what they aren't liking and allow them to pick some new things. Sometimes kids pick things but quickly discover that it doesn't stay cool/warm enough in their lunchbox or it's too hard to eat at school, so instead of upsetting their parents they just leave them and bring them home. Use this as an opportunity to ask them what they aren't liking so you can change it.

  2. If your child is consistently coming home with an empty lunch box but seems to be "starving" get curious. Ask them if they ate all of their lunch and if they think they need more. If they think they need more food, ask them what you can add. It can be as simple as a jerky stick, mandarine orange, or a healthy protein bar. Let them know they don't HAVE to eat it for lunch but if they feel like they need it closer to the end of the day, they can save it for their last recess or right after school

3. Don’t pack the same thing every day. Make sure you have a variety of foods prepped and ready to grab. I’ll often have cut up or prepped berries, celery, watermelon, cucumber, or red peppers cut and bagged ahead of time to make packing lunch a snap. I even like to have peanut butter, hummus and guacamole prepped or purchased in small containers to quickly add to lunches, but choose things your kids like. Remember, the key is to ask them what produce items or dips they would like. This will lead to them eating more of those foods because they picked them out.

4. Make sure your kids have a well-balanced lunch that will fill them up, keep them full and help them focus. Having protein, a fiber-filled carb, veggies, and some healthy fats make for a complete meal. Having this combo is going to keep them fueled for the day and ready for those afternoon classes!

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Here are ten balanced lunch ideas that take less than five minutes to make. Remember, preparation is key!

  1. DIY Charcuterie: Salami, or other nitrate-free lunch meats nuts, fruit, veggies

  2. Pinwheels- Find these in my recipe book

  3. DIY Lunchable: turkey, ham or salami, crackers, and cheese

  4. Taco Bowl: Leftover taco meat, tortilla, and avocado

  5. Pasta Salad: Noodles, veggies, and meat

  6. Hard-boiled egg, veggies, fruit, and nuts

  7. Sandwich of choice plus celery, berries, and trail mix

  8. Yogurt with chia and berries

  9. Chinese Chicken Salad-Recipe book

  10. Chicken, veggies of choice, and fruit with their favorite dip for veggies.

Lunchtime Swaps They’ll Actually Eat

Help your kids make healthier choices without depriving them. Restricting your kids completely will result in them trading food at school, lashing out, sneaking, and causing other damage later on. That doesn’t mean you can’t help them learn to make better choices and help them understand how the right foods make them feel. Here are some swaps that I have used for years with my kids!

  1. Swap Skippy peanut butter with Santa Cruz peanut butter or Kirkland's organic peanut butter

  2. Swap Capri Sun with Hint juice boxes

  3. Swap Smucker's jelly with Santa Cruz or St. Dalfour fruit spread

  4. Swap Doritos Ranch or Nacho Flavor with Siete Chips Ranch or Cheddar flavors

  5. Swap Wheat thins with Simple Mills organic crackers

  6. Swap Z-bars with Skout bars

  7. Swap Lunchables with Sunnie snacks- use code Wellnesshomemade

  8. Swap uncrustables with better for you bread, peanut butter and jam. Make your own with this amazing tool!- DIY uncrustable

Don't forget it’s all about making better and more Informed choices over time. Don’t pressure yourself to switch everything all at once, or you will burn out and face rebellion! A few treats here and there are completely fine for your kids, so swap some things, but keep some of their favorites so everyone is happy!

Happy lunch making!

Here are some of our favorite luncheslunches


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