I don’t often have to pack lunches for my kids since we home school. Our lunches usually consist of leftovers or mac and cheese or cheesy rice with the occasional sandwich. However, sometimes we have to be out for the day and we do different things. If I were to pack a school lunch, here are some easy things I would try:
Instead of another PBJ:
Meat and Cheese Roll-ups
Spread a whole wheat tortilla with homemade or healthy mayo and add a slice of lunch meat and a slice of cheese OR a scoop of chicken or tuna salad. Add some lettuce and onion if your child will tolerate it, and wrap it up. You can even do this without the tortilla if you are using lunch meat. My kids like ham and cheese roll-ups with mustard. To keep lunch meat healthy, try to get a kind without nitrates and preservatives. It’s pricy, I know, so do the best you can.
Instead of unhealthy potato chips:
Popcorn or Homemade Tortilla Chips
Take a corn or whole wheat tortilla, cut into wedges with a pizza cutter and spray with cooking spray on both sides. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.
Instead of juice boxes:
Lemon Water or Emergen-C Water
At home, my kids keep filled water bottles in the fridge all the time and sip on them when we’re not eating meals. I’m frankly not a big fan of milk or juice. If your kids won’t drink plain water, even with a snazzy water bottle, add some lemon slices and a little sugar and it will be lemonade-y by lunch time. Or try a packet of Emergen-C to give it a little fizz and flavor. They have a multi-vitamin one for kids, too, so they can get their vitamins and a delicious drink as well.
Instead of fruit snacks/leather:
Give them the real thing! My kids love clementines separated into wedges in a baggie. They also jump up and down for a fresh peach. Some other ideas are apple slices and bananas. If your school allows it and your child is old enough, a few nuts or nut butter is delicious with the apple slices and will add some filling protein to get them through the afternoon.
Instead of sugary yogurt and pudding:
Sweeten plain yogurt with some raw honey and add some fresh berries.
Some other ideas:
Veggies and homemade dip (No, not homemade from those little packets!)
Cheese cubes (You can even cut them into fun shapes using mini cookie cutters, if you’re so inclined.)
Salad and homemade dressing (Yep! Some kids just might surprise you, but load them up with lots of yummy veggies and a “fun” topping like shredded cheese, crunchy almonds or dried fruit.)
Hope that gets you started towards a healthy school year!
Jennifer Self is a disciple of Jesus Christ who loves following His plan for her life as a wife to the most wonderful man in the world and mama to four little blessings. Her days are filled with spending time with her man, homeschooling, preparing reasonably healthy meals and keeping the dust bunnies and the clutter monster at bay with a little blogging mixed in. After her family has been taken care of, she dabbles in her other passions of reading, health and music. She blogs about her life, her Heavenly Father, marriage, parenting and home at www.joyeverafter.blogspot.com.