4 Tips for Making Healthy School Lunches
Tip #1: Make Food Ahead
Making your lunches ahead of time will save you from the early a.m., gotta-get-the-kids-out-the-door-5-minutes-ago scramble. The further ahead you make your lunches, the less you have to stress. How this works for every family will be different but making lunch ahead could look like making an extra-big dinner the night before and packing the leftovers into bento boxes. It could mean making sandwiches for the week on Sunday night. The really adventurous might even try doing more than a week's worth of lunches!
Tip #2: Get Your Kids Involved
Trust me, I know that many times it is easier and way faster to do something yourself. I have a three-year-old who loves to cook. Trust me. I KNOW. But involving your kids in both the shopping and creation of lunch not only makes them more likely to eat it once they get to school but also teaches them life skills and keeps them from being dependent on you (or their future spouse. or a fast food restaurant) for lunch for the rest of their lives.
Have more than one kid? Make it a family affair. Do a school lunch assembly line on Sunday night and get everyone's lunch made for the week so they can just grab it and go.
Tip #3: Leave a Note
Leaving notes in their lunches helps you stay connected with your kiddos even if you're apart for long periods of time. Writer's block? There are lots of great printables available, from jokes to quick affirmations.
Tip #4: Use Nontoxic Packaging
While I am so glad that BPA has gotten the nasty press it deserves, the truth is that BPA is not the only ooky thing we need to look out for in kids lunch boxes, plastic bags and Tupperware. In fact, sometime the chemicals companies use so they can say they are "BPA-free" is even more toxic than BPA. Yuck!
Things to Avoid:
- Phthalates (look for "phthalate free" labels. Since BPA is a phthalate, "phthalate free" will also mean it is BPA free)
- PVC (look for "PVC free" labels)
- Microban (it is suspected to contain triclosan. Read more here. Don't buy items that brag about Microban being used in the product)
- Lead (look for "lead free" labels)--> this is an issue mostly with lunchboxes and backpacks.