I think we would all agree at this point that what goes into our kids’ bodies for meal time affects how well they can concentrate at school.
But how can we keep the food real despite the busy schedules…and having to pack it all EVERY. DAY.
And it is so worth it.
To know they are able to focus so much better with meals that count, and not have hungry brains and bellies.
To know you are teaching them the importance of it all…
Because you know…they are watching. They are learning. Are we just throwing stuff in a bag or buying the easy packaged stuff because it is just that – easy? Or are we teaching them that it matters what they put in their bodies. That it makes their body feel better, focus better, grow better when they pay attention to what they are eating.
Just try taking on one or two of these things. GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED. I don’t care how old they are. If they are old enough to be in school – they should be a part of getting their meals ready. Even if it’s cleaning up the containers after school to help you out, picking out a piece of fruit to put in their lunch box, grabbing a frozen soup out of the freezer the night before…you get the idea. Let them help you.
Sorry for the ramble 😉 Here we go!
- Plan on a couple school days a week or more of an oatmeal breakfast. You can make a very large pot of oatmeal on the weekend or on Monday morning and then just re-heat throughout the week. Oatmeal travels in a thermos well too. My husband doesn’t care for breakfast so early and typically takes his to work with him warm in a container so he can eat it later. If you don’t have a big breakfast eater, pack all you can into that oatmeal! My 2 year old is like this a lot – so I’ll add in butter or cream, egg yolks or coconut butter, or a scoop of peanut butter to her oatmeal. Here are some recipes: banana bread oatmeal, applesauce oatmeal.
- Plan on a pancake or muffin breakfast morning every weekend and double/triple batch – the leftovers can be for the school week! Pancakes go into the toaster so great! Muffins can be taken out of the freezer the night before and be thawed by breakfast. Serve these sort of items with a hard boiled or fried egg or 2, or some bacon/sausage. Maybe a bowl of yogurt. I always get a glass of whole raw milk into my family every morning too. Here are some recipes: oatmeal pancakes, grain free blueberry muffin, cinnamon pancakes, banana bread, quick breakfast bread, gluten free blueberry muffin, pumpkin bread.
- Hard boiled eggs will keep in their shells a good 5 days! Hard boil a dozen eggs or so every week and you are set for breakfast on the go!
- Do up a large batch of fried potatoes/hashbrowns for a nice Sunday morning breakfast or lunch and use the leftover fried potatoes for during the week. They reheat in the pan with a couple eggs SO fast – serve it up with a glass of whole milk and you are set! So fast!
- Smoothies can be fast AND easy – check out this post for all the nourishment you can get in just one on the go drink!
- Batch up breakfast cookies over the weekend and have the leftovers for the week – or freeze them up for another week. Here are some recipes: super fast breakfast cookie, strawberries and cream oatmeal breakfast cookie.
- I’m not a fan of boxed cereals – even organic ones completely destroy the grains and make them so toxic. Try doing a large batch of granola cereal and you can have a month or 2 worth of cold cereal on hand if that’s your thing!
- Those batched up muffins from your weekend breakfast work great in the lunch box too!
- One word…SOUP! It is so worth it to make large batches of soup and freeze. Warm a pot of soup up while the kids are eating breakfast and pour them into thermoses for lunch that day. Here are some recipes: pea soup, tomato soup, chicken noodle soup, pumpkin soup, french onion soup, creamy veggie soup, broccoli soup, potato soup, bean soup, butternut squash soup, asparagus soup.
- Hard boiled eggs will keep in their shells a good 5 days! Hard boil a dozen eggs or so every week and you are set for throwing some eggs in the lunch boxes a couple times a week!
- See this post about making easy yogurt cups for travel – you can even pack a container of granola to mix in!
- See this post about how to batch up easy and very cost effective lunch meat for sandwiches and salads!
- On the sandwich note…just be mindful of your bread ingredients. I’m not against a sandwich everyday – we do that a lot. But the bread quality needs to be good. Try this soaked bread or go with a quality sprouted bread or gluten free. OR try another “bread” medium – slice an apple into rings and sandwich it with your peanut butter or almond butter, or use lettuce wraps for the chicken.
- You might be surprised at how much your kids would like a salad once a week or so. We call them BIIIG salad lunches 😉 THEY get to add raisins and seeds, cherry tomatoes – all their favs and pick a dressing. You can top with shredded raw cheese and/or shredded chicken. Add some avocado or hard boiled eggs. Try some of these dressings – they take just a few minutes to make and last weeks in the fridge: Ranch, Italian, Thousand Island.
- Try these energy bars!
- Granola bars!
- Try batching up this real food mac n cheese for the thermos for a special treat every once and a while! Stay tuned next week for a real food version of Spaghetti-O’s! UPDATE! HERE is the Spaghetti-O’s post!
- Left over pizza from pizza night! Here are a few crust options: quick pizzas, gluten free crust, soaked crust.
- Let’s talk veggies. You know they wanna dip – so make up some of those dressings (ranch, Italian, or thousand island) and then every week just have a large freezer bag of sliced up carrots, celery, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers – etc – let them take a handful of what they want while you are packing – their choice means they’ll eat it and they get to pick the dip!
- We do “sandwiches” with veggie rings and cream cheese a lot – cucumber, zucchini, or tomato circles work great to sandwich honey sweetened or herbed cream cheese!
- Chocolate avocado pudding!?
- These are fantastic cookies that are full of nourishment!
- OHH this guacamole is SOO good! Have them dip sprouted chips or crackers or use it as a sandwich spread!
- These refried beans are so full of flaver – pack it up warm in a thermos with a side of sour cream or shredded cheese!
- Have the kids pick a piece of fruit for their lunch everyday.
- Let the kids pick out a few cool water bottles for their lunch boxes – seriously – they don’t need juice.
One more note! On the subject of after school snacks I have 2 thoughts. First, when you are feeding those kids NUTRIENT DENSE breakfasts and lunches there really won’t need a huge after school meal. I would just say go for a piece of fruit with cheese, milk, or nuts if anything at all. And my second thought is just to keep that part simple 😉 You could go with some of the lunch ideas from above – but really it should just be something to tide them over til a nutrient dense dinnertime!
Hoping this helps some! What are some of your real food school year tips???