Sunday, July 23, 2017

Back to School Lunches

     Before you know it, it is that time again.  Time for a new wardrobe of Back to School clothes (is that the best or what...LOVED LOVED LOVED getting new outfits each year and laying out my week of ensembles days in advance), and what is it with that new bottle of glue, kleenex and erasers that feels so special...not to mention the thrill of the new pens, pencils and notebooks!  How many times did you arrange and rearrange all the supplies in your freshly purchased backpack, (remember exploring all the new zippered pockets and the new found storage compartments...even the smells reveal never before usage...  All these "things" intended for learning have yet to see the inside of that large brick building filled with peeps, but undeniably intended to help us pass the next grade, and ironically will be completely unrecognizable by May!
     The year zooms so fast, which makes it important to make the most of each day, part of that being a healthy lunch.  If your kids are picky and don't care for "School Lunch", then you are faced with daily packing and providing the best nutrition for focus and learning.  My biggest tip is to involve your kids in the planning, prepping and preparing.  Forget store bought chips, make your own.  Forget cellophane shrink wrapped desserts, make your own.  Forget fruit juice, pick a new fruit each day.  With a little effort, we can make this the best year ever!!!

Sandwiches (the Main Course):
Man was not made for bread alone, we have options: Wraps, Bagels, Slim Buns, 50 calorie Bread, Crackers, Pita Pockets, Left Overs, Soup.  Switch it up each week to keep 'em on their toes!  ;)

Fill the Sandwich with what your child will eat, first and foremost.  If PB&J is all they will eat then so be it, maybe you can try and make your own PB, or use sliced Grapes, Bananas or Strawberries as a healthy alternative to Jelly.  I prefer getting freshly shaved meats from the deli vs prepackaged.  Cream Cheese, Cheese, Lettuce and Hummus are great additions as well.  If possible, don't put the mayo or mustard directly on the bread, it tends to get soggy.

Veggies:  try and have at least one veggie option per day~Carrot Sticks, Cucumber Slices, Cherry Tomatoes, Broccoli or Cauliflower Florets, Celery Sticks, Edamame, Bell Pepper Slices, etc.  To make things more palatable, send 2 Tablespoons Hummus or Light Ranch for a dipping party! Make a simple homemade Hummus by adding a can or two of your favorite Chickpeas or Beans, chopped Garlic, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt and Water to food processor and blend til smooth.  Add ingredients according to taste.  Super simple, or follow my fun Pumpkin Hummus recipe.

Chips:  If possible to avoid prepacked that would be wonderful, if not, try and stick to the 100 calorie packages.  That being said, here is where you can really involve your children for greater compliance, MAKE YOUR OWN!!!  Have a fun project each week with making Roasted Chickpeas, Kale Chips, Spinach Chips or even Potato Chips.  ( a quick note about Potato Chips, children should not be allowed to use a mandolin unless CLOSELY supervised... take it from a girl who sliced a good portion of the side of her finger tip off when making Sweet Potato Chips).  You can roast about anything, I really loved Roasted Cauliflower, but the key is to involve the kiddos in the process.  Here are a couple recipes to check out:



Fruit: Make Fruit fun by having a Fruit of the Day chart, and encourage your kids to prep their bag with the right Fruit for the right day.  If Apples and Oranges are easier to eat in slices, do that ahead of time, preferably the night before.  Just don't think Fruit Snacks or Fruit Juice is a suitable sub for Fruit... it is NOT, they are terrible and loaded with sugars.

Desserts:  Please don't buy the prepackaged junk for kids, unless you want them to have a horrible afternoon...   When it comes to sweets, make Muffins, Protein Cookies or Energy Bites for the perfect addition to any sack lunch.  This is another area where kids can be a BIG part of the lunch planning, have them help with making their favorite healthy dessert, and I am sure they will be more likely to take pride in and consume without bartering off their ''goods"!  And actually, maybe Desserts aren't every day, maybe they are just for Fridays for example, if you can train them that Fruit is their "sweet" you will be setting them up for long term success.  Here are a few ideas:








Extra Snack ideas: Popcorn, Cheese Stick, Nuts, Home made Granola, Rice Cake, Yogurt, Hard Boiled Egg, Trail Mix, or there are some healthy option on the market.  Just remember to read your labels.

Drinks:  As I've stated, please don't give your kids Fruit Juice OR Pop!  Either Milk or I LOVE  prepackaged shelf stable Protein Shake, there are many on the market that are around 100 calories and only a gram or two of sugar.  I like EAS or Premier Protein.  If you can freeze your drinks, then they can work as coolers in your sack, and will be thawed by lunch time.  Here's a novel idea, how bout Water!!!???

The Sack:  What ever you can do to work ahead, please do.  You will be so grateful the next morning.  With my 3 kids, I sat out 3 rows of 5 sacks on Sunday night and filled each with as much as I could, this was EXTREMELY helpful.  I also would generally put in one single Chocolate Kiss as a little reminder of how much I loved them.  On occasion, I would also put little surprise notes of affection as an unexpected treat.  Lastly, on Sunday afternoons, let your kids decorate their Sacks with Crayons and Stickers...who doesn't love writing their name in Red Crayon!?

Keep in mind that high Protein foods will help kids stay full longer, and high Sugar foods will rapidly spike and then equally drop their Blood Sugar, setting them up to struggle.  For optimum results, our goal in health is to strive for a steady stable Blood Sugar thru out our day.  Let's have a great year and do all we can to help our children out.  Healthy habits begin at home!  In good health, paige  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment