Let me just start by saying that my lunches are not crazy healthy, because, well let’s face it, if I prepared the super healthy, out of this world lunch, my 2nd and 3rd grader would simply not eat them, however I try my best to pack whatever healthy things they do like and be creative. Just the other day my son said that some kids from his class asked him why he always eats healthy snacks.
Why don’t I let them by lunches at school? I do, on occasion. But one of the reasons I don’t let them buy lunches at school is because I have no control over how many sugary items they would get. In kindergarten my son told me once that he picked chicken nuggets, with a muffin, mandarin oranges (in sugar juice) and chocolate milk. Now to me that is a bit too much for him. When I pack their lunches I try to make sure that I don’t make a carb/sugar overload kind of a lunch. We also buy a lot of organic foods, and I like the idea of them eating homemade food and getting into a habit of realizing that eating ‘out’ (even if that means school lunch) is more of a treat and a special occasion.
School is back in session and coming up with healthy foods and snacks for our little ones can sometimes be tricky. Either we have no way to pack it, or the kids are simply just too picky to eat what we would prepare. There are many ideas out there for how to pack healthy foods for the kids, however if you have picky ones like we do, fresh veggies with ranch and a turkey sandwich on a whole wheat bread loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, and other good things for you, just won’t work. So what’s a mom to do? I prepare things that I know they love and make sure that their days are balanced.
One of the best investments we did was purchase a thermos. They are wonderful and are great for packing different hot lunches. They stay nice and warm trough the day. (http://www.amazon.com/Thermos-FOOGO-Stainless-Steel-Ounce/dp/B0025Y6742/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&srs=2530615011&ie=UTF8&qid=1411061065&sr=1-1&keywords=foogo+thermos)
Here are some of the items I pack in the thermos:
- · Soups and stews (side of sliced bread or crackers)
- · Pot roast (with gravy or BBQ sauce)
- · Grilled chicken/ or chicken tenders (with choice of dipping sauce)
- · Hot dogs/ Mini corn dogs
- · Veggie burgers
- · Mac & Cheese
- · Pastas
- · Spaghetti
- · Sliced turkey in turkey juice
- · Casseroles
What is so fun about packing things like veggie burgers and occasional hot dog is that they get to build it themselves. On the side I will send them off with a bun and all the toppings they like, so they get to put it together nice and hot for lunch. Since they like most of the fruits, I will pack them fruit instead of chips. When I make the pastas and Mac & Cheese I will cook it with broccoli, peas, or cauliflower and mix it all together. They don’t mind it that way, and it’s a nice way for them to get the veggies in with their noodles. But if you have an extra picky one try mashing the cooked veggies and making them part of the sauce. It works really well with marinara sauce. I also toss in a little bit of turkey, or grilled chicken for the protein.
Since their lunch is so late in the day they have a snack time at school and one of my favorite things to make for them is the parfait yogurt. It’s not only my favorite but theirs as well. We use Quaker granola with almonds and raisins; top it off with fresh cut strawberries, vanilla yogurt and a little more granola. Sometime I use frozen berries instead of fresh strawberries. It works if you don’t want to pack an extra ice-pack as the frozen fruit thaws just in time for snack/lunch time. Use any fruit your little one likes.
Another favorite snack for them is cheese, crackers and grapes. They tend to eat those up every time.
I make crapes from scratch and I always add extra egg whites to my crapes to load them up with a little extra protein. I use crapes to make them turkey and cheese wraps and on Fridays with Nutella as a special treat. Another yummy snack I make for them is a banana with almond butter. You could use peanut butter too, but my 3rd grader has a peanut allergy so almond butter works great. If you’ve never had almond butter with bananas you’re missing out on something amazing. I use Almond Natural More brand, definitely my favorite.http://www.allstarhealth.com/de_p_ref/21203/pla21203/SNACLite_Almond_Naturally_More.htm?utm_source=google&utm_medium=GPS&utm_campaign=21203&gclid=CjwKEAjwheqgBRD5vOfR45az5AESJABy4m8-PmEDM3ABHEXmJLIhOFVT5yDWWnvujDuUSnQdSlsVmRoCcBDw_wcB
I send them off to school with water every day. We use metal water bottles by Klean Kanteen. (http://www.amazon.com/Klean-Kanteen-Stainless-Steel-Bottle/dp/B0092ZW6FG/ref=pd_sim_hg_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0XFKSDBJAATTE2E1HEF0)
They are wonderful and don’t smell after a few sips.
Fridays are treat days, so they either get chocolate milk, apple juice, homemade crapes with Nutella, or some other sweet treat like pudding, or a Clif bar.
Now if you are wondering what we eat for breakfast it is eggs. Every day we have scrambled eggs with cheese, side of fruit and a toast. If I don’t prepare fruit then I mix in diced spinach, onions, tomatoes, mushroom, or some kind of mix of veggies, in with the eggs. Sometimes I make egg muffins. (recipe to follow). We also have oatmeal a couple of times a week with fruit and granola, in addition to the eggs. Our kids just don’t stay full if they only have oatmeal. Cereal is more of a treat for them, so if they eat their entire breakfast without any complains they are welcome to have a small bowl of Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Multigrain Cheerios or Honey Bunches of Oats.
As they get older their taste buds change, and they tend to love new things and not like things that they loved before. My goal is to keep feeding them things that are good for them, without being too restrictive.