There’s no simple answer. Luckily, there are several ways to simplify things. That means less stress for the parents and caregivers, more action and less frustration on what to pack. Below are 5 tips to consider when choosing foods to pack. If you stick with these simple rules, you should only have to run to the grocery store once a week!
Keep these foods available ( always ) in your kitchen. They are cost friendly and do not have to be refrigerated.
Bread, pita or wraps Tip – look for terms on the label like “100% whole wheat”, or “100% whole grain”. If it just says “wheat bread”, it’s likely mostly made of white flour.
Spreads Try to keep avocados, peanut butter (or almond butter) and hummus available and use them as spreads rather than condiments, like mayonnaise. If your kids aren’t big fans of hummus, use any dip. Some veggies are better than no veggies . Here’s my recipe for Almond Oatmeal Drops – No Bake.
Here’s a simple sandwich with 4 simple ingredients; chicken, avocado, tomatoes and bread.
3. Vegetables & Fruit.
Try to include one fruit and one vegetable in each lunch. Focus on the vegetables you know your child loves. If your child dislikes vegetables – sneak them in! Make muffins packed with zucchini or carrots. Pick a day and check out your local farmer’s market – they usually have the best “in-season and cost-friendly”, selection.
Tomatoes for sandwiches Carrots, cucumbers, celery & peppers to enjoy with dip or spreads.
Fresh cut veggies!
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. All good. Cut up apple slices to enjoy with a side of peanut butter. Oranges, bananas, grapes. All easy to slice up and place in a plastic bag the night before. Dried Fruit – this I really recommend, but it small portions. About ¼ a cup of dried fruit = 1 serving or fruit. Make sure you read the label for any added sugars and choose the no added sugar option. See my post about the health benefits Dried Fruit Health Benefits.
A Florida Orange, slice and eat.
Focus on one protein or dairy source with lunch. I included dairy because many dairy products are GREAT sources of protein, as well as calcium for strong bones.
Milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. String cheese is a good option. Cottage cheese with fruit. Sliced Cheese and crackers. Choose less options like chocolate milk products (ex. Yoo-hoo). Chicken, turkey and egg sandwiches are healthy options. Try to cook them twice a week to have available for lunch! Use deli meat in moderation (usually full of sodium and preservatives). Another option is prepackaged chicken strips, already cooked.
I LOVE the idea of these. Although I have no kids of my own at the moment, when I do, I plan to use Bento Boxes. They are sectioned lunch boxes – great for portion sizes. Also saving you money ( and time ) on packaging foods with Ziploc, plastic bags. Here’s a link to a bento box Bentgo Kids Lunchbox . See these additional 100+ great ideas on Bento School Lunches here 125 healthy school lunch ideas!
There are many ways to make fun lunch for kids. One way is to make a themed lunch. For example, you could make a zoo lunch with animal crackers, a fruit salad in the shape of a monkey, and a juice box in the shape of a lion. You could also make a lunch with a fun activity. For example, you could put a small box of crayons and a piece of paper in the lunch box and let the child color on the paper. You could also put a small puzzle in the lunch box. Another way to make a fun lunch is to include a treat. For example, you could include a small bag of chips or a candy bar.
There are many things that you can give a picky kid for lunch. Some good options include sandwiches, wraps, salads, and pasta dishes. You can also give them a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as some protein-rich foods like chicken or tuna. If your child is particularly picky, you can also try giving them a variety of different pre-packaged lunches from the grocery store.
1. Plan ahead. If you know what you’re going to eat ahead of time, you’re less likely to make an unhealthy choice. 2. Bring a brown bag lunch. If you’re not sure what’s on the menu or you don’t want to eat what’s there, bring your own lunch. 3. Avoid the processed foods. The school cafeteria is likely to have a lot of processed foods, which are unhealthy and high in sugar and sodium. 4. Stick to the basics. Opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables instead of processed foods. 5. Get involved. If the school cafeteria has a menu or nutrition guide, take a look at it before you make your choices.