Six Ideas for Healthy Back to School Lunches
Summer vacation is officially over, and it’s time to send the kids back to school for another year. As you wrap up last minute details for the first day, don’t forget about lunch. Sending your child with a hearty and healthy lunch will keep them charged and ready to learn. Protein and complex carbs will provide the energy they need and keep them feeling full well into the afternoon.
Here are six ideas to help you choose healthy items for back to school lunches:
- Make protein a main ingredient in lunches. Walnut or almond butter, hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken strips, and steak tips are all good choices. Remember to check with your child’s teacher to ensure there are no nut allergies in the classroom.
- Fresh veggies and dip are a fun choice. Think broccoli or cauliflower florets, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, carrot sticks, etc. Bean dip, hummus, avocado, or low fat dressings make good dips.
- Use whole wheat, spelt or Ezekiel tortillas to make roll ups, and cut into slices if desired. Turkey or chicken breast, veggies, and a hummus make a complete meal in no time.
- Throw in some cherries, berries, apples, grapes, sliced pineapple, chunks of mango, or other fresh fruits for a sweet treat.
- Whole wheat, rice or Ezekiel pasta salad with carrots, peas, or other veggies is a great way to sneak in some veggies for your picky eaters.
- While it’s not something your child can eat, make sure to include a special note with words of encouragement in the lunchbox. Knowing you are thinking of them will make them smile and may be just the thing to lift their spirits.
For a fun, energy packed treat, try these homemade bars, compliments of Elana’s Pantry.
Cherry Vanilla Power Bars
- 2 ½ cups slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup golden flaxmeal
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 10 drops vanilla stevia
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- Place almonds, flax, cherries, cranberries, and stevia in food processor
- Pulse until well ground, then pulse in water until the mixture begins to form a ball
- Remove from food processor and press into an 8 x 8 baking dish
- Slice into bars and store or serve
One of the best ways to get your kids on board with healthy lunches is to give them lots of choices and let them help you shop and prepare meals. The more invested they are in what’s in their lunchbox, the more likely they are to eat all their lunch and make healthy food choices at other times. Remember, too, to keep food at its proper temperature. Use an ice pack for cold foods, and if sending something hot, heat it up in the morning and seal it tightly in a thermos. We hope you had lots of quality time with your kids this summer, and that your back to school schedule is going well.
Speaking of which, look for our August “bonus blog,” where we will offer suggestions on getting back into the swing of a school schedule, as you say goodbye to summer vacation.