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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.
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.
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!
DIY Charcuterie: Salami, or other nitrate-free lunch meats nuts, fruit, veggies
Pinwheels- Find these in my recipe book
DIY Lunchable: turkey, ham or salami, crackers, and cheese
Taco Bowl: Leftover taco meat, tortilla, and avocado
Pasta Salad: Noodles, veggies, and meat
Hard-boiled egg, veggies, fruit, and nuts
Sandwich of choice plus celery, berries, and trail mix
Yogurt with chia and berries
Chinese Chicken Salad-Recipe book
Chicken, veggies of choice, and fruit with their favorite dip for veggies.
Lunchtime Swaps They’ll Act