It’s that time of year again…BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!! It’s the time when kids reunite with their friends and meet new teachers. It’s also another year of planning and packing school meals and after school snacks. I remember as a kid not having the best school lunch options, many of the options were low in nutrients and high in fat. These were not the best options for growing minds. Creating a plan and selecting healthy lunch option for your kids, is the first step to their success in class.
Healthy Back-to-School Lunch Ideas
Before we know it, school will be upon us and lunches for the first days will be packed! Let this be the year your student excels in all their classes, by providing them with the tools for success. Depending on how creative and intricate you’d like to get with the meals, there are great staple options available to help make this process an easy one.
School Lunch Options:
- Fresh Fruit – Packing a few different options within the meal will help keep your student fill and nutrient rich throughout the day. There’s so many different options to chose from, it’s impossibleto become bored with this option. Red grapes, green grapes, black grapes, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi’s, apple slices, watermelon cubes, cantaloupe, pineapple, the list goes on and on!
- Sandwiches on multigrain/wheat bread – Prepping meals with a picky eater can be difficult, especially if they only like sandwiches, but it can still be done. Swapping out white bread for multigrain bread is great way to keep this option healthy. Using fresh greens, organic meats and cheeses is also a good idea, but feel free to get creative with this and fit the needs of your student.
- Fresh Vegetables – Snack foods are such a crowd pleaser for little hands. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper slices and broccoli florets are great starter options. Cauliflower, sugar snap peas, avocados, and even sweet potatoes can also be included. Just combine with a dip of choice ( hummus, ranch or peanut butter) and viola! The students get the much need nutrients needed to remain full until dinner time.
- Cheese sticks or cheese cubes – Combining this option with fresh fruit is a tasty combination. They’re so many cheese options like cheddar, mozzarella, and colby jack to throw into the mix.
- Yogurt – Placing a yogurt cup or portable yogurt smoothy into a lunch box, can help increase the calcium and protein intake needed for growing bones. Milk is also another option great option for calcium intake, feel free to use an ice lunch box to keep the milk cold until lunch time.
If these choices aren’t up your alley, there are other options. Be sure to adjust as needed for dietary restrictions or allergies.
- Grilled Chicken with rice and beans
- Deli meat wraps and pinwheels
- Trail Mix (depending on your students age)
- Fresh spinach or lettuce salad of choice.
- Cottage cheese or string cheese
- Water/Infused Water
Any of these options can be combined into a fun creation for your student to enjoy. Just be sure to add one item from each food group to make it a well balanced meal. For example, be sure to include a protein, fruit, veggies, and calcium option. The combinations are endless, literally!
- Turkey deli pinwheels/sandwiches, veggies sticks with dip, and yogurt cup
- PB & J with fresh fruit kabobs, cheese sticks and pretzels
- Deli wraps with organic meats and cheese, cherry tomatoes, cheese and crackers
- Tuna sandwich, fresh berries, trail mix with whole wheat crackers
- Grilled chicken caesar wrap with red grapes, berries and cottage cheese
- Choice of meat and cheese sandwiches on whole grain bread, with celery sticks, sliced apples and almonds
Once the creative juices start flowing, and your student starts voicing their favorite options, eating healthy won’t seem so daunting. Let me know your favorite combinations below, I’d love to hear them!