Is it just me? Fixing lunches has somehow become the bane of my existence. It just seems…well, hard! I don’t know why – I can’t even really explain it. I just can’t stand packing lunches. Tastes change from day to day. Things were too cold. They were too hot. I didn’t pack what they wanted to eat. You name it. I can mess a school lunch up ten ways from Sunday. But I’ve just called in the reinforcements for all of us!
If you’re like me, you want to make sure that your children have a nutritious and varied lunch that will help fuel them throughout the remainder of their day. My boys, 4 and 7, also have a snack break at school – so I also need something that’s easy for them to grab at snack time.
I admit it. I’m a worrier. Each of my boys can get insanely hangry at the drop of a hat. Especially the younger one. I think he gets so busy playing that he forgets he’s hungry until he’s actually beyond hangry. So I’m prepared at all times! Yes – I’m that mom. Although it’s really more of a matter of self preservation than anything else!
What you don’t pack is just as important as what you do pack. Sugary or processed foods top the list of poor lunch options. Try to think of foods that rev your energy, are satisfying and lasting, but don’t make you feel like you want to curl up on the sofa and nap!
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Healthy lunch ideas are important for kids – “Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but lunch runs a close second. Studies have shown that children who eat a well-balanced lunch often do better in school and are more alert.” (source) They are better behaved, are able to focus better, get in trouble less frequently, and perform better on tests! (source)
And I know all this – so I am really against providing processed or sugary foods for lunches. One thing that I always try to do – I try to make enough of the protein for dinner the night before so that I can send that for lunch in a thermos. Then I can add in fruits and veggies that I have. It always gets harder when there isn’t anything left over or it’s something that doesn’t reheat well (fish, for example). Then I start from scratch.
We also have food allergies and sensitivities in our house – so that limits me somewhat. For us, I avoid dairy and wheat.
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Here are some fun, wonderful ideas to get you moving toward a satisfying and healthy lunch for your child. Without loosing your stuff!
Here are some items that make packing lunches so much easier!
If you thought you had lots of ideas, but feel like you’ve used them up – there are so many great ideas here that you will definitely find a new stash of “keeper” recipes!