The key to making healthy lunches, as with many things in life, is being organized. Packing you child’s school lunch can be a healthier and better tasting option. Making lunch at home can also save you money!
You may see lots of cute lunch ideas on Pintrest, but who has time to make these special meals every day? Here are some helpful tips to packing healthy lunches with the time you have.
- Have your kids make a list of the foods that they like to eat. Make sure the list includes a variety of healthy options.
- Research recipes and healthy alternatives for the foods they already love. Make simple changes like swapping white bread for wheat on their favorite sandwich.
- Use wheat sandwich wraps instead of regular sandwich bread for a twist.
- Pack water instead of juice.
- Have essentials such as fruit, vegetables, wheat bread, water, and other common items stocked in your house.
- Pack a colorful lunch and include foods such as carrots, cucumbers, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries.
- Use fun shapes. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Use holiday shapes for Halloween and Christmas, and triangles, hearts, circles, and small squares throughout the year. Shapes can also be used on fruit and cheese.
- Offer variety by packing at least three different types of food every day. Try a bento-style container with separated food compartments.
- Choose easy-to-eat foods. Have food cut into small bite-size pieces and fruit already peeled.
- Make it fun! Skewer various fruits, meats and cheeses, or alternate grape tomatoes and small mozzarella balls.
- Create smaller portions out of bulk goods. You’ll save money by buying in bulk. Try to get into the habit of cutting and portioning the food out on Sunday night, this will save you time during the hectic school week.
- Have inexpensive staples on hand. Whole-grain pastas, wraps, and bread can be paired with simple basics like cream cheese and jam, nut butter, or a little Parmesan or pesto.
In a sandwich rut? Try these healthy alternatives.
Mash an avocado with lemon juice, and then spread on a whole wheat wrap. Top with crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, and thinly sliced romaine lettuce. Roll up and wrap waxed paper.
Turkey and Cheese Pita Pockets
Spread the inside of a whole wheat pita with a creamy cheese. Fill with turkey slices, baby spinach leaves, and cucumber slices.
Barbecue Chicken Sloppy Joes
Toss chopped tomatoes and shredded rotisserie chicken and carrots with barbecue sauce and heat. Toss the mixture with chopped cilantro or parsley and transfer to an airtight container. Pack with a whole wheat hamburger bun for assembly at lunch.
Combine chopped cooked shrimp, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped celery and fresh tarragon and black pepper. Transfer to an airtight container and pack with a whole wheat hot dog bun.
Warm frozen meatballs in jarred tomato sauce and transfer to a wide-mouth thermos. Place a slice of provolone cheese in a whole wheat hamburger bun for assembly at lunch.
Chicken Soft Tacos
Pack a container with avocados mashed with lemon juice; top with a layer of shredded Monterey Jack before sealing. Fill two small whole wheat tortillas with shredded rotisserie chicken and sliced romaine lettuce and store in re-sealable plastic bags. Assemble at lunch.
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