School is back in session! That means it’s time to get back into the routine of building those lunchbox meals and having snacks at the ready. This may seem daunting in your household, especially if you have a picky eater, but don’t fret. Below are four of our favorite tips to help you get back into your routine:
1. The Fab 5
The National School Lunch Program recommends five food groups be served to create a balanced and nutritious meal: fruits, vegetables, low or nonfat dairy, whole grains and meats or meat alternatives. That may seem like a lot for one meal, but if you pack in small quantities (and with foods that they love), this should be fairly easy and make for a happy eater.
Helpful tip – To keep food cold throughout the morning, freeze a BPA-free water bottle the day before and wrap it in a washcloth to absorb condensation. This also provides your child with water to drink during lunchtime.
2. Have good equipment to use
Leak-proof containers of various sizes, a wide-mouthed thermos and an insulated lunch bag can broaden your menu options. Having multiple options of packing a lunch can allow you new and different recipes to try without worrying that your child’s lunch made a mess of their lunchbox.
3. Prep twice a week
Take two nights a week (we prefer Sundays and Wednesdays) where you prep items for a few days worth of lunches and snacks. Some prep ideas include:
- Wash and cut fresh fruits and vegetables and package them into small containers or bags.
- Boil some eggs.
- Stir up a batch of healthy muffins.
- Shred or cut up cheese.
Make this a family affair and get your kids and spouse to help you with this step in the process.
4. Create healthy “Grab-N-Go” bins
Place containers in your refrigerator and/or pantry with healthy foods for “Grab-N-Go” occasions. Items can include fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese sticks, pretzels, nuts, trail or chex mix and so on. This is a unique way to get your family to eat healthier and convenient for everyone. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your bins empty when healthy eating and snacking is at everyone’s fingertips. Include these items in your prepping throughout the week, and you’ll have lunches and snacks covered!
There you have it! Some fun and creative ways to get inventive with the lunchtime hustle and bustle of the school year. Keep in mind, all of these tips work great for grown-up lunchboxes and snacks, too!