Archive for September, 2010

Back to School Blues Lunch Tips

Mornings can turn hectic quickly. Getting everyone dressed, fed and out the door leave little time to focus on much else, yet alone preparing healthy lunches for our loved one and selves. Often convenience wins over nutrition when the clock is ticking. Lunch is an important meal of the day, especially for kids who need that extra energy to focus during school. Here are six ideas to help make the back to school transition a bit easier for you, and nutritious for the kids.

  1. Plan ahead and know what you want to prepare for the week and try to make the lunches the night before. Even get the kids to help pack and prepare their own lunches. When they are involved in the process they will be that much more excited about what they are eating.
  2. Ask your kids specifically what they like and what they don’t. Getting feedback takes the guesswork out of packing a lunch. If they like pizza, make cold mini-pizzas with vegetable toppings.
  3. Don’t just throw away the wrappers or leftovers when cleaning out their lunchbox. Use your detective skills to see what your kids are eating or not eating and bringing home. Once you know what they don’t enjoy, it will be easier to shop for varieties of the foods they love.
  4. Don’t sweat it if they want the same thing every day. As long as they are getting their daily dose of nutrients, feel free to pack the same sandwich Monday through Friday.  With your older kids, make sure they are getting enough to eat each day. Nothing can be more distracting in the classroom than hunger pains.
  5. Save some money and instead of buying prepackaged bags of cookies or chips, make a trail or snack mix using things like dried fruit, unsalted crackers, pretzels, popcorn or nuts. Kids love to dip, give them a side of low-fat ranch to dip carrots or other vegetables into. Also try salsas, fruit dips, bean dips and other exciting ways for the kids to mix up their lunch, but still get the fiber and nutrition they need.
  6. Try cutting foods up into smaller portions. Slice up that big old sandwich, or use cookie cutters so the younger kids can not only handle it with more ease, but also enjoy eating something that is not in a traditional shape.
  7. Lastly, give them something to look forward to with lunch. With younger kids that is easy to do with a sticker, or even a crayon and a small page out of a coloring book. With the older kids, throw in a favorite treat or a couple of quarters for them to pick something out of the school’s vending machines. If you are preparing healthy lunches, there is nothing wrong with a little lunchtime treat.

Leave a Comment