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4 tips for a simple school lunch makeover :: healthy new year

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I know we aren’t the only ones trying to kick off the year with healthier habits. We tend to get a little out of control in December so we always start off the new year cutting out sweets and getting back on track. Yep, that includes the kids. In addition to cutting out sweets at home, we’re taking a look at the lunches our kids pack for school and making some easy changes to health them up a bit. Here are a few tips we use to help send the kids to school with good food for their bodies and brains!
1. Precut and bag veggies. My kids pack their own lunches for school. My rules are that it must include a fruit, veggie and protein and it can’t include a dessert. Since mornings tend to be a bit rushed, we like to get some things ready ahead of time. I usually cut up some peppers or carrots and bag them up at the beginning of the week so the kids can easily grab a bag in the morning. Celery works well for this as well. I’ve found cucumbers don’t last as long once they’re cut and bagged so if that is the veggie of choice, we usually do that the night before.  We also find veggies in unexpected places like Mamma Chia’s Chia Squeeze.   They taste like fruit but have some veggies hidden inside (my kids don’t notice at all!)

2.  Look beyond the sandwich.  Only one of my three kids is a sandwich fan.  The other two make a lunch out of small snacks–and it works well for them.  Instead of a sandwich, they might opt for yogurt, pistachios (I buy the pre-shelled ones from Costco) or a protein-packed Wella Bar.  We love Wella because they are made with all simple organic ingredients and are sweetened with honey, not sugar or chemicals.  Plus they have so much protein!  If you have a sandwich-averse child, look around for other nutritious, quick snacks that can fill that void in a lunchbox!
3. Winters in Michigan make it hard to come by much local produce.  We always have apples and clementines on hand but sometimes my kids like a little variety.  We love having Mamma Chia’s Chia Squeeze on hand to sub in for fresh fruit.  Fruit and veggie purees are infused with chia seeds to add Omega-3s, protein and fiber. And my kiddos LOVE these things!  My youngest would certainly eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let him!  I like to keep some on hand in the car for a quick snack for the kids (or myself!)  You can read about the power of Mamma Chia’s Chia Seeds here.
4. Water bottles.  We always fill these and put them in the fridge the night before.  We try to avoid juice in lunches and having a water bottle ready makes it easy to make a healthy choice.

I’d love to hear your tips for making healthy lunches for your kids!


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