Perfecting the School Lunch
With back to school at hand, moms everywhere are once again plotting the perfect, easy, nutritious lunch-packing plan. Does such a thing exist? Maybe not. But we sure can try for it!
My three strapping…and, shall we say, particular boys have kept me on my toes for the last dozen years, so here are a few tried and true tips from my crazy household to yours:
- Mix things up. Even if you do opt for a sandwich every single day, add variety to week to keep kids interested. It can be as simple as switching out the bread every few days. I like Rudy’s Organic Bread because it has several flavors, all packed with fiber and protein. And for another twist on sammy shape, add a FlatOut FoldIt bread in every once in a while too.Peanut butter and jelly is a classic for a reason, so do include it, but think of other ways to get protein in there as well. I like to alternate between sandwich meat and vegetarian options, from hormone-free ham and cheese to egg salad. My kids are also hooked on hummus, so it’s super easy to add a few veggies and cheese to the protein-rich spread for variety.
- Go for color. Earthbound Organics has a bunch of fruits and veggies presliced and wrapped in child-friendly portions. Throw in a pack of carrots for a vitamin-rich crunch to brighten up the meal.Another good source of color can be my family’s current obsession, Lifeway Probug, made from probiotics (aka the active bacterial cultures made in yogurt that support the immune system, energy levels and digestion). The reclosable containers are seriously cheery, featuring flavors like Orange Creamy Crawler, Blueberry Pie, and Sublime Slime Lime.
- Make opening it feel fun. My hands-down favorite way to achieve this one is with a Go Green Lunchbox. It’s an insulated container with a removable bottle, and—get this—lock-and-turn technology so you don’t need to bag, wrap, or otherwise package anything in it. Nothing leaks and it stays fresh in its own little compartment. Kids like it because it’s like a mini Bento box.
- Do add snacks or desserts! Obviously I couldn’t forget this one. I say kids deserve a treat—just make sure it’s not packed with sketchy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup. Better yet, give ‘em homemade goodies so you can fully control the ingredients.My suggestions: amazing pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from Sassy Mom Blogger or Snack Girls Crispy Rice Squares. For savory snacks, there are plenty of non-greasy, organic, healthful alternatives to the usual suspects. Check out some top picks here.
But what about you? With all the shuffle of preparing school lunches, it’s all to easy to forget yourself! Some of my personal go-tos: raw nut pate and of course, the best sandwich ever, Between the Bread’s sinfully delicious roasted beet recipe.
Psst: There’s plenty more lunchtime tips for you in my forthcoming book, which you can preorder now!
All the Best,
Author of Real Moms Love to Eat (http://www.realmomslovetoeat.com/books)