Back to school is upon us, and yes that means parents are returning to the kitchen to make healthy lunches for their kids. As a mom, I understand the frustration of what to pack in our little ones lunch boxes. Packing lunches doesn’t have to be difficult, stressful or nutritiously empty.
Healthy doesn’t have to mean plain or boring; quite the opposite. Healthy lunches means high nutritional content, identifiable ingredients, feeding our kids full of clean fuel and focus enriching nutrients.
Meal Planning: A Nutritionist’s Secret Weapon
Meal planning is my saving grace as a full time Nutritionist and single mom of two bouncing growing children. Planning out all three meals a day for the week; it helps with meal prep, saves on groceries, and allows the kids to help with suggesting what they like and preparing meals themselves. Here is the Meal plan template that I use in my home.
Creating a Healthy Lunchbox
Lets break this down point form and make it super simple, a nutritionally sound healthy lunch box should include the following;
- Protein rich foods – protein is vital for our kids growth and brain development. It doesn’t need to come strictly from animal sources.
- Carbohydrates – Carbs provide our kids with a steady stream of energy to help their sugar levels stay balanced. Trying to keep it as whole grain based as possible.
- An assortment of colour– what child doesn’t love colour.
- Fruits and vegetables – They are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Fats – kids need some fat in their diet for optimal health, especially for their little brains, by fats I am referring to nuts, seeds, avocados and oils.
- WATER – More important than even the food they are eating is that they are consuming adequate water.
How to Build a Healthy Lunch
- Getting yourself a bento box style container can be an easy way to craft their lunches in an exciting and appealing way.
- Lunch in a jar is another exciting and easy way to prep lunches as well. Search lunch in a jar on pinterest for more ideas.
- Protein balls are an excellent way to get a heft hit of healthy protein and fats into your little ones.
- Smoothies are a wonderful way to get more vegetables into your kids, you can mask the flavour of fresh spinach and kale behind raw cacao and frozen cherries. They will never know its there.
- Chopped up fruit and vegetables in your kids lunch instead of fruit leathers and gummy bears is an excellent way to get them used to eating it, if its there and they are hungry they will eat it.
- An excellent way to teach your children healthier eating habits is to live it yourself. Make nutritious eating a family challenge.
- Involve your kids in their lunch box prep.
- Introduce one new food a week to start.
- Remember, homemade or fresh is always better than processed and store bought.
- A favourite lunch cookbook in our house is “The Best Homemade Kids Lunches on the Planet” by Laura Fuentes.
Still need more help…
Search the following key words online or on Pinterest
- Renee Giroux-Wyton, Holistic Nutritionist
- lunch in a jar
- bento box lunches
- smoothies for kids
- protein ball recipes
- holistic lunches for kids
- protein snacks
- healthy fats for lunches
- lunch recipes for kids
- home made fruit roll ups
- healthy lunches for kids