Oh, back to school time. It is a love/hate relationship. On one hand, I’m excited to have the children learning and back to a regular routine and earlier bedtimes. On the other hand, I will miss our more laid-back schedule and having to pack a lunch EVERY SINGLE DAY, for two children. Let’s be REAL, it can be tiring and it can get OLD fast.
It’s a lot and yes, I get tired of it and sometimes it is very tedious and I’m excited for a day off but I still LIKE packing their lunches. I still enjoy knowing what they are eating and that I’m feeding them healthy food and a well-balanced meal (most of the time). I’m FAR from perfect but I try and that is why I was very excited to partner with Stonyfield Farms, Justin’s and PACKiT™Lunch Boxes to share a few of my tips with you on how I pack a healthy lunch for my kids during the school year. Bottom line, I get it. It’s not easy to please your kids and they want what every other kid packs in their lunch. So here are my top 5 tips for packing a healthy lunch your child will actually EAT this school year and not just throw away.
5 Tips for Packing an EDIBLE HEALTHY Back to School Lunch
- Involve your children. Yes, you actually have to ask them to help you pack their lunch, shop for their lunch or say if they like or do not like something. What is the point of buying cherry tomatoes if they’re going to throw them away? If they don’t like a yogurt flavor you’re picking, make sure they tell you. When you pack what they like, it’s a far smoother process and they eat healthier. And personally I find when you put things in compartments using the Easy Lunchboxes system you cut down on waste but also appeal to what the children like and visually see! I also use the Fresh Baby MyPlate sandwich and snack bags.
- Consider snack foods that are good for them. My children always want a snack but if they feel like their Justin’s Chocolate and Hazelnut Butter Pretzels are a treat, you can feel good about packing it for them. OR even a crisp apple cut up with an Almond Butter packet. It’s sweet and good for them! Did you know that Justin’s products are made in small batches to ensure high quality and they use all-natural ingredients?
- Provide Protein. If there is no protein like a hard-boiled egg or yogurt, your child will not feel sustained. This is why when they’re gone for 8 hours a day, I like to make sure they have more than one protein to choose for a snack and lunch. My children are big on freezable Stonyfield YoKids Squeezers. I can freeze them and they can eat them at lunchtime or snack – their choice. A favorite, the birthday cake flavor!!
- Keep Foods Safe. Oh, this is a big one. You need to make sure that whatever you pack is kept cool and safe between the time you send them to school and they eat lunch. There are many danger zones when it comes to keeping your child’s lunch safe. If you pack meat, eggs, yogurt, cheese…you need to make sure they stay cold so there is no food borne illness. It’s what I’m loving about PACKiT™ Lunch Boxes, they are freezable and keep the foods cold. Check out the USDA recommendations on keeping lunches safe because it is very important, foods spoil quickly.
- Consider Variety. Some children love the same thing, day after day. That is fine. So long as it is well balanced, I’m all for the if it “isn’t broken don’t fix it” philosophy. However, I think when we introduce our children to new foods when they are hungry and they picked them out at the grocery store, we have a better chance at success. For example, if you challenge them to new veggies and take them to the grocery store to pick out new foods, they’re more likely to pick eat them. The idea is to MIX IT UP. Even it if is occasionally.
Disclaimer: I’m a Stonyfield Farms Yo-Getter Blogger, I receive free products and I’m compensated for my time. My opinions are my own. I’m sharing these products with you because I will use them and I see value in sharing them with you.