Saturday, September 15, 2012

Packing Healthy School Lunches

These were pictures from the newspaper interview and my son would not eat everything in this picture. 
Packing your kids a healthy lunch is not hard but here are a few tips and tricks to make it more  fun for you while packing and more fun for your child when they open up their lunch boxes.  For me packing a lunch is a must since my son has food allergies, but I really want to know what he is eating, so even without the diet limits I would be packing a daily lunch.

Recently a friend of mine and I did an interview about school lunches for our local newspaper, some of the information in the article is not completely accurate so I wanted to share some more information and tips here. You can see part of the newspaper article HERE.

Tips to help with Mama (or  Daddy) guilt... 
* If you don't' have the want or time to pack a lunch IT IS FINE DON'T STRESS about it.
* Lunch is only ONE MEAL A DAY.
* A healthful breakfast and after school snack is the BEST way to help your child have a great day.
* Don't spend the time and money packing stuff they WON'T EAT. 
* Be willing to comprimise, which may mean finding a "better" option for your child's favorite treats.

When I asked my son what was the MOST important thing to him for his school lunch and his answer was "cool lunch box containers"  and I will list some of our favorites at the bottom of this post.  So here are a few our lunch box goodies.
There are ALL KINDS of accessories  to make the lunch more fun you can search amazon for Bento lunches and you will see ALL KINDS of things. But I keep an eye out at the dollar store and the dollar rack at target for cocktail forks and pick etc. 
Things to work HARD on keeping OUT of your child's lunch and diet in general -- these things are not good for anyone but also have been linked to behavior issues with children and who needs that while trying to work at school?
* High Fructose Corn Syrup
*NITRATES in lunch meat, bacon etc.
* artificial food colorings
Here are some Nitrate Free lunch meats that are easy on the budget 

The red circles are Baby Bell Cheese with some of the wax cut off. 
Kids LOVE to dip so I send homemade salsa, Hummus, and  Homemade Ranch Dressing, to dip whole grain chips and veggies in.
Half of  EVERY meal should be fruits and vegetables so lunch is no different so don't for those goodies in the lunch box either but remember send stuff they will actually eat. My son like raw spinach but he won't touch peppers or cauliflower. We use Juice Plus to help bridge the gap in all the fruits and veggies we should eat and what we actually get in daily since getting 7-13 servings a day is a feat for anyone.
Dried fruits, trail mix, and nuts (if allowed at your school) are also great to have on hand to fill in  with for lunches.
Healthy lunches can include "convenience" foods, fruit leathers, yogurt, apple sauces, real fruit snacks etc can make easy fill ins for the lunch as well. Just  try to buy items without loads of sugar, MSG, food colorings, etc.

A cocktail pick or toothpick and can wonders to make the lunch more fun. Fruits, veggies, cheese, chicken, shrimp, or lunch meat all go on very easy.
And you can pack a few lunches at a time so your not doing it daily.
salsa, and chips, fruit, and leftover grilled chicken and cheese with a little ranch dressing in a lettuce leaf. 

chicken & cheese, fresh fruit, hummus (in the what box) fresh veggies, dried fruit, a 100% juice box, and fruit snack. 

applesauce banana, shrimp & cherry tomatoes, carrots, pepper & Hummus.

Cheese stick wrapped in nitrate free turkey, trail mix, corn chips, sliced apple held together with a rubber band, and a few chocolate chips. 

cheese, veggies, chips, chicken, figs, fresh fruit, and hard boiled egg. 

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