The kids are officially back to school and although that means a little more time for moms, it also means a lot more meal prepping and lunch packing. It can be difficult to come up with new lunch items your kids are excited about eating – or eat at all! We also want to make sure we are packing healthy, nutritious meals. All of this often leaves us throwing together a sandwich and chips.
Thankfully, we have a few favorite, nutrition conscious moms we look to in times of need. Here, we share their healthy back to school lunches for kids! And the handy boxes they pack them in! If you’re looking for an easy-to-pack, compartmentalized lunchbox, we love the Planetbox and it’s cute stickers for kids:
My best tip is investing in a bento style lunch box. It ensures a variety of food is offered, keeps the food looking nice and from touching/getting squished, for those kiddos who are visual eaters. It also makes it easier and quicker for the kids to get to everything, ensuring less food waste since there’s no packages to open and fuss with.
Beyond that, I love to browse the bulk bins at my market for new and interesting snack additions to keep the lunches fun and engaging for the kids. They get excited when I find and pack a new style of trail mix or a different kind of veggie chip. – Andrea Howe, of Howe We Eat
Image via @Howeweeat
Nutritionist, Jennie Miremadi weighs in with a few healthy lunch alternatives:
For snacks, think delicious, nutrient-packed snacks like guacamole with veggie dippers, raw, organic, sugar-free nut butter packets with cut up green apples, or homemade kale chips with olive oil and salt.
Image via Cara Clark Nutrition
First, let your child help with your guidance and support. Giving them options will ensure they’re going to eat what they pick.
Second, give them some credit. Kids are more willing than you think to try different things, so give them a chance!
Third, make it practical, so it’s not too time consuming for you. Snack sizes are awesome for lunches- carrots, apples pre-sliced, hummus and guacamole containers.
Lastly, include 1-2 complex carbs or grain, a fruit, a veggie, protein and healthy fat. I like to include a typical snack, like veggie straws or tortilla chips as well as a “treat,” such as a homemade baked good or fig bar. The treats help them to feel like they’re not envying their buddies lunches!
If you need some ideas follow along with Cara’s back-to-school meal plans!
Image via @JennasKitchen
The key to getting kids to eat healthy, or healthier, is consistency. Keep at it! Don’t give in to their demands for nuggets and hot dogs but rather give them an array of options to choose from so they feel empowered with a choice! Lead them by example. When they see you eat healthy, they will want to too! – Jenna Rammell of Jenna’s Kitchen
One of our favorite healthy lunch options is Tuna. We love Safe Catch in particular because it’s wild caught and every fish is tested for safe mercury levels. The Experts at Safe Catch say…
Kids absolutely love tuna! It was a staple in lunch boxes everywhere until increasing mercury levels caused health conscience parents to think twice about including tuna in their kids’ lunches. Now, we have an entire generation of kids who have missed out on the health benefits from this nutritional powerhouse. Thankfully, mercury is no longer a worry, thanks to Safe Catch Elite tuna!
A great way to introduce tuna back into the lunchroom is to create a fun, bento-style lunch box with plain or seasoned tuna (depending on how adventurous your kiddo is), and add some crackers, cut veggies and carrot sticks. It’s a perfectly balanced meal that has all of the protein and Omega-3s that kids need to get through the day! Omega-3s are essential for your child’s brain development, and it’s important that they are getting them through eating whole, nutrient rich seafood like Safe Catch Elite tuna.
Image via @Againstallgrain
Author of Against All Grain and mom, Danielle Walker shares her lunch packing routine:
My son helps me decide what goes in his lunch so he is more excited about eating it. I often pack leftovers from dinner so he doesn’t get bored of the same old thing every day. We include a protein, such as leftover roasted chicken or leftover meatballs, and then give him a variety of fruits and veggies. His favorites are apples, grapes, blueberries, cucumbers, and carrot sticks. I send it all in a stainless steel lunchbox with an ice pack in an insulated lunch bag.
Image via @LeilaKLewis
Yogurt. The first two ingredients in yogurt are cow’s milk and sugar. Even the “no sugar added” varieties are full of toxic artificial sweeteners. And while your pediatrician might be pushing calcium on your kid’s diet, dairy isn’t the best way to sneak it in. Cow’s milk is loaded with yeast, which leads to sugar cravings.
Organic fruit juice. Don’t let “organic” and “100% juice” labels fool you! Packaged juice is just empty sugar that doesn’t deliver the same nutrients as fresh fruit, or the same hydration as water.
100 calorie packs. They’re packaged so perfectly to fit into your kids’ lunch boxes, but they’re full of sugar, gluten and MSG. These “diet foods” are the worst thing you can be feeding your kids. Send them with chia bars or trail mix instead.