Packing your children’s school lunch can be a breeze. Even for those of us who are gluten-free or on other restricted food diets, school lunches can be easy peasy. To help you avoid the rushed craze of morning lunch packing time, I’m sharing 3 tips to help you pack healthy school lunches.
3 Tips To Help You Pack Healthy School Lunches
1. Lunch Box Nutrition
Decide what your child’s healthy lunch should include well in advance. If you are looking to optimize nutrition, it really helps to plan ahead. Rather than just throwing a bunch of items in their lunch bag to fill it up, create a plan.
For my boys school lunches I try to include 5-6 components. Protein, Healthy Fats, Veggies and/or Fruits, Carbohydrate, beverage & sometimes a sweet treat. It’s also nice to get a variety of colors of foods into their lunches – colorful real foods mean lots of varied nutrients. Pairing good fats helps to assimilate the nutrients in their food, namely the proteins and veggies.
An example of this would be: sliced meat (protein), red pepper slices (veggie) with homemade ranch dip (healthy fat), homemade herbal tea in a small thermos (beverage), organic raisins (fruit) and 2 dark chocolate squares (sweet treat).
Create a checklist of these categories and keep a running list of what each child likes. Post on the fridge or keep handy with your kids lunch bags.
2. Get The Kids Involved
Talk to your kids about your goals to make their lunches healthy. Then with the checklist you’ve created, have each child come up with their own ideas for their school lunches. If you have multiple kids, hopefully some of their choices will be the same. Then let them pack their own lunches. If you’ve created a checklist you can give it to them and let them know what you have on hand. My boys pack their own lunches, except for my 6 year old. I do have my 6 year old there with me and he helps. This keeps him in training mode so he can soon be better equipped to do the whole job himself.
When the kids are involved in their own lunch planning and packing they will be more excited about their lunch. This will make them more apt to consume the whole thing and not let any go to waste.
3. Plan & Organize Weekly
This might be an obvious tip, but it’s certainly not a glamorous one. If I do not plan well, it messes up my whole morning. If I don’t plan well, I might run out of easy foods to pack and run out of time. This may lead to either me running to the store in the morning on my way to taking the kids to school (not fun, and I’ve done this plenty of times). OR, I end up just throwing my hands up in the air and letting them order lunch at school (not an ideal solution).
Each week when I meal plan, I also plan for the lunches. I ask the kids what they want and put it on my shopping list. I also try to set aside small portions of leftovers, muffins or baked goods and portion out things like crackers in containers for later use. If we have things like rice crackers in the house, I have to hide them (no joke). The point is, I’m always thinking ahead for how I can make lunch packing easier on me the next week.
If you don’t have your lunch supplies/containers organized or purchased already, check out the essentials I use for my kids lunches.
Want more information & tips like this? Here you go!
- School Lunches Part 1: The Tools
- School Lunches Part 2: Time & Money Saving Tips
- School Lunches Part 3: Menu Planning
- School Lunches Part 4: Recipes To Switch It Up
- 5 Components of a Healthy School Lunch
Sometimes it’s hard to keep everything running smoothly without a plan, some direction and much needed encouragement. I recently wrote a review about a resource that really helped me get packing lunches more under control, and my tips are in part due to what I learned from it. ‘The Grain Free Lunch Box‘ is a great resource for any parent in need of serious guidance packing healthy gluten/grain-free lunches. Loaded with practical advice, how to’s, organization tips, to purchasing your supplies, as well as printable charts and lots of recipes. ‘The Grain Free Lunch Box‘ will certainly be of great benefit to you as you continue on this journey of healthy school lunch packing. I’ve got many more years of this to come!
Frustrated by daily lunch boxes coming home uneaten? Stressed about finding time to prepare lunch boxes? Find Lunch Box Preparation a dreaded hassle?
Packing Allergy Friendly lunch boxes for your kids can be a real nightmare – I know how you feel! Being faced with the prospect of packing allergy friendly lunch boxes for my kids which resembled “normal” lunch boxes just like their friends was an immense challenge. That’s where The Grain Free Lunch Box eBook comes in…
Imagine what it would be like to look forward to lunch box preparation. To be organized. To pack a nutritional lunch box, which meets your child’s allergy needs, and most importantly – which gets eaten and enjoyed by your child.
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*Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of both ‘The Grain Free Lunch Box’ and ‘Budget Meals Planning Guide’ to review. I was under no obligation to further promote these books, I am promoting them because they are products I found helpful for my own family and believed them to be a good value. I do earn an affiliate commission for each sale, which is like a small tip to help with the upkeep of running this site. Thank you!
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