Build A Better Lunchbox

What to pack in your kids’ satchels can get tedious, but knowing how to streamline packing to provide nutritious and kid friendly  lunches doesn’t have to be rocket science. Here are a few tips to help you and your crew build a well balanced box. 

 

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INCLUDE FOOD

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No we’re not being sassy here. For lunch aim to get in at least 4 to 5 of the foods groups. Think a whole grain + protein + fruit + veg. Including a variety of foods from different food groups provides sustainable energy for kids so that they’ll last without having a total meltdown on you after school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAME IDEA GOES FOR SNACK TIME

Think about pairing 2 or 3 of the food groups to keep them full and happy. Try cut up fruit + string cheese or a piece of whole grain bread + peanut butter. 

 

 

 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Focus on easy to prepare and transport items. Sandwiches are always an easy go to but also think wraps, skewers, cold pasta dishes, quesadillas, leftovers and even a hearty snack box.

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Our hearty snack box includes veggies sticks (cucumber, peppers, carrots), berries & grapes, cheese slices, whole grain crackers, mixed nuts and dark chocolate.  

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MAKE IT EASY TO EAT

Been inside the cafeteria at your kids’ school lately? If not, you may be surprised to find out that some kiddos might get as little as 15 minutes to eat.  With this in mind it’s worth keeping lunches simple, enjoyable and easy to eat. In our house we also put a joke or two in lunch boxes to keep it fun.

GET THE KIDS INVOLVED

We have finally reached the age in our house that my son can be involved in helping create his lunch. Hooray! He knows that we try to pack at least one item from each food group and as many colors as possible.  As kids get older you can involve them in the process by organizing your pantry and fridge by food group and asking them to add one item for each to their lunch boxes.  This is a great use of the division of responsibility  as you can determine what gets put in the fridge and pantry and they can choose what they want for their meal.  Setting up these simple rules can help take the stress out of creating a meal they will want to eat come lunch time.  Check our previous post on kid’s food relationships here. 

And finally...

MIND YOUR PORTIONS/APPETITES/SERVING SIZES

** Adapted from Dietz WH, Stern L, eds.  Nutrition: What Every Parents Needs to Know.  2nd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics 2012: 194    

** Adapted from Dietz WH, Stern L, eds.  Nutrition: What Every Parents Needs to Know.  2nd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics 2012: 194

 

Think about it. Little kids, little tummies.  It’s easy to overestimate the amount of food your child needs so we’ve provide some guidance below.  Be mindful that appetite can vary from day to day and that’s ok. Allowing your kid the freedom to decide how much food and if they’ll eat it helps them recognize their internal hunger and satiety cues while also building healthy food relationships. 

Happy back-to-school season! Go Team!

 

If you're looking for help in streamlining your kid's meals, give us a shout!