Is school lunch prep already making you pull your hair out? Did you start the school year with grand intentions of NOT making the same thing every day and making sure your kiddos had a nice balance of fruits and veggies with some other healthy snacks?
Well it may be good for you to know that you are not the only one… moms everywhere are struggling BUT there are a few who have this lunch thing FIGURED OUT – so let’s get some tips from them!
Have you found a fun and reusable serving vessel yet? Yes, there will be days that it gets left at school but plan an after-school check in process to make sure it gets in their backpack to come home.
Bento boxes, plastic containers, silicone muffin cups, flasks… sometimes you need to try things to see if they will work for YOUR family and your lifestyle. But plastic vs glass vs stainless steel may help with decisions. How much the lunch bag will weigh, if it will stay cool when not refrigerated (or hot). Don’t forget – ease of opening for the youngest kiddos and – keeping a recess snack separate so they don’t have to dig into their lunch at snack time. Oh… the … pressure!
THIS may be part of what drives us back to Smucker’s sandwiches or bagels and cream cheese… day after day!
Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to planning for school lunch prep – I just type in healthy kid lunches PLUS an ingredient I have on hand and voila… a bazillion ideas! Then the challenge is choosing one or two to try rather than obsessing over all of the options and narrowing your choices! Do you feel me there?
If your child hates EVERYTHING when it comes to healthier choices, then have them grocery shop WITH you and let them choose a veggie or fruit to try. [If that option makes you hyperventilate a little then plan a super short trip JUST to choose lunch foods and save the major grocery shop for during school hours.] Pull up some fun recipe ideas and have your kiddos help you make them. OR pull up some recipes with sneaky veggie additions (make sure kids don’t see this in action) and they may never know that they are eating veggies in their lunches!
Here are some of my favorite school lunch prep options that I try to rotate through Whole and freshly cut fruits (or choose no sugar applesauce or cut fruit packages); Whole and freshly cut vegetables; Trail mix – grab one with fruit instead of M&Ms and no added sugar; Water – you can add some fruit to flavor it; Fruit and honey-sweetened yogurt; Granola (easy to make your own); Whole grain crackers; Baked chips, pretzels, salsa, guacamole, hummus or other bean dips; Snack bars (beachbars are my current favorite); Air-popped popcorn; Rice and grain cakes with nut butter; Pure 100% fruit juice, fruit strips and snacks; Raisins and other dried fruit; Hard boiled eggs; Real cheese; Homemade sandwiches, Beachbars, Daily Sunshine and hot meals in thermoses.
Looking for more ideas or want to let me know what you do? You can find me at Facebook.com/GetFitWithNicola or IG.com/GetFitWithNicola