If your schedule is changing with the beginning of the school year, check out these tips.
Whether you and your kids are staying home or going to work and school, it’s the time of year to think more about school day lunches and snacks. In this post, you’ll find some handy ideas for making healthy—and tasty—midday meals.
There is a definite upside to providing lunches and daytime treats for your little ones. Oftentimes, what you can provide will be much better nutritionally than cafeteria or prepackaged foods. How about serving up things like these: peanut butter and jelly on apple slices (not wedges) instead of bread, chicken and avocado tortilla roll ups, or lunch kabobs of their favorite fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and proteins?
Whenever possible, go fresh rather than processed, and limit total sugar.
Ask your kids which snacks they really like and you’ll get some insight to optimize snack packs. Do they like chocolate? Consider a homemade trail mix with a few chocolate chips included. Maybe they like nuts? The point is to give them something they won’t simply toss out.
Other simple ideas include:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Fruit with ricotta or cottage cheese
- Celery with peanut butter (or almond butter) and raisins (ants on a log!)
For a few more options, read our post “Healthy Snacks For Kids (And Adults).”
Weekly Meal Prep
Taking some time on the weekend to prepare the coming week’s lunches and snacks can save time in the long run. What’s more, without the stress of being in the midst of the workweek, you’ll be more likely to come up with better menu solutions.
Even better, include the kids in the process and you might see them take some ownership of it.
If you do send your children outside the home on school days, it takes a bit more planning in regards to items that need to be refrigerated. Instead of cumbersome ice packs, consider a freezable lunch bag.
Keeping foods properly cooled is a safety issue; one study in Texas (where the weather is similar to Florida’s) found 88.2% of the lunches were found to be at a hazardous temperature 90 minutes before lunch. Bacteria flourish in the Danger Zone of 40° and 140° F. (You can find other refrigeration and food safety tips here.)
Ask your child whether their lunch seems warm or cool, and ask the teacher or school what time students eat lunch—you might be surprised at how early or late it is.
Just remember, with a little prep work and a dash of creativity, it’s easy to make lunches and snacks that your kids—and you—will love.
If you’d like someone else to prepare your meals, look no further. The Pickled Beet incorporates nutritious ingredients into many delicious recipes for our Miami clients. We work with individuals, couples, and families to find meals that are flavorful, healthy, and best fuel the body no matter what dietary requirements might be part of the equation. Contact us for a free consultation.