As the school year starts, parents’ schedules become far more intense, but that doesn’t mean healthy eating has to go out the window. Having balanced, nutritious meals is vital for kids so they can be energized and focused at school. For today’s post, we’ve enlisted the help of our friend, Kim, from Forever Green Mom who is also one of our Brand Ambassadors. Kim is sharing some healthy school lunch ideas for kids that are easy to prepare and ideal for hectic weekday mornings.
It’s so easy to just toss some food in your kid’s lunch box and send them on their way, especially when you are running late. So I thought I would share how to pack healthier school lunches for kids and some doable lunch ideas.
PACK HEALTHIER SCHOOL LUNCHES FOR KIDS + IDEAS
My husband and I aren’t perfect parents, but I can say we do feed our family healthy foods most of the time. We especially send our son off to school with good nutrition. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
PLAN YOUR WEEK
Sit down for a few minutes on Sunday afternoon and plan out the next week’s lunches. This will help prepare you for what’s on the menu and make your mornings go smoothly.
SHOP IN THE HEALTHY SECTION
Many grocery stores nowadays have a healthy section in their stores. Don’t be afraid to peruse these isles. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find. For instance, I buy Annie’s instead of Cheez-Its which cuts down on fat, salt, and carbs. Not to mention Annie’s has no artificial flavors or synthetic preservatives. Plus, there are coupons out there for healthier foods too.
INCLUDE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Choose the ones your kids will eat and rotate them out. It may cost a little more but there are fruits and veggies that are already cut up.
ADD OMEGA 3
Give your child the brain-boost they need to be successful this school year by packing omega-3 essential fatty acids into their lunches. Omega 3 is particularly important for brain health, as they promote the creation of brain cells so our minds can adapt to new information. Studies have also shown a link between omega-3 intake and improved focus and attention.
A few great sources of omega 3 include flax, chia seeds, walnuts and seafood. I personally love purchasing canned seafood from Wild Planet Foods. Each of their products are sustainably-fished, with no additives or preservatives. They also cook each of their products only once, right in the can, which preserves nutrients and omega-3 content – which results in higher levels of omega-3 than conventional canned seafood brands.
CHOOSE DRINKS WISELY
It’s not only about the food, drinks are important, too. Choosing milk, water or low sugar juice is always a better choice than sugary drinks and sodas. It’s truly okay to send your kids with water in their lunches.
CHANGE IT UP
Eating the same lunch every day can be boring. Even the healthy ones. Keep your kids happy and try something new. Plus, eating a variety of foods gives your body a variety of nutrients.
STAY AWAY FROM PACKAGED SNACKS
Yep, it’s easier to throw them in, but those salty and sugary snacks are not doing their daily energy levels any good.
BUY A NEW LUNCH BOX OR BAG
Swap out those boring brown bags and opt for a cool “green” lunch box or bag and save the earth at the same time!
Now it’s time to pack healthier school lunches for kids + ideas that are doable!
• Whole-wheat tortilla wrap with nut butter, veggie slices, and baked chips or pretzels
• Boiled egg, whole-wheat crackers, cheese squares, unsweetened applesauce
• Yogurt, raspberries, banana, Annie’s cheddar squares
• Leftover chicken or Wild Planet organic roasted chicken breast on a sandwich and cold mac & cheese, cut up fruit on a stick
• Taco salad without meat, no salt chips, fruit on the side
• Wild Planet tuna fish sandwich (my son loves tuna), fresh blueberries and blackberries, Annie’s cookies
• Tomato, cheese, spinach (repeat) on a stick, healthy dressing on the side, air-popped popcorn tossed in cinnamon sugar
• Bread-free sandwiches such as a slice of low sodium lunch meat wrapped around a cheese stick, pickle, fruit cup
I do hope this gives you some good ideas on how to pack a healthier lunch for your kids. School is so important and we need our kids to have good nutrition and that begins at home.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and are not necessarily a reflection of the opinions and views of Wild Planet Foods. The content provided (and any linked or referenced materials) should not be construed as medical advice. Should you have any health or nutrition-related questions, please consult a doctor or healthcare practitioner.
The author received products from Wild Planet for editorial purposes only. The opinions and recommendations are solely those of the author and were not influenced by Wild Planet Foods in any way.