Let’s Do Lunch
It’s back-to-school time! Making lunches can be fun in those first few weeks but gets old quickly. When burnout hits, it’s easy to start reaching for the Lunchables, but there are better, healthier ways to make midday meals your littles will love. Keep reading for some kid-approved lunchtime swaps, top school lunch tips, and healthy lunch ideas that’ll have everyone excited to hear the lunch bell ring.
Lunchtime Swaps Your Kiddos Will Actually Eat
Help your kids make healthier choices without depriving them. Restricting your kids completely will result in them trading food at school, lashing out, sneaking food, and causing other damage later. That doesn’t mean you can’t help them learn to make better choices and help them understand how the right foods make them feel. Here are some swaps that I have used for years with my kids!
- Swap fruit rollups or fruit snacks with That’s it Bars
- Swap Skippy peanut butter with Santa Cruz Peanut Butter or Kirkland’s Organic Peanut Butter
- Swap Capri Sun with Hint Kids Water
- Swap Smuckers Jelly with St. Dalfour Fruit Spread
- Swap Doritos with Siete Grain-Free Chips
- Swap Uncrustable Sandwiches with homemade uncrustable sandwiches using the peanut butter and fruit spread mentioned above
- Swap granola bars with Skout Organic Bars
School Lunch Tips
1. Don’t be scared to get your kids in the kitchen to help. It’s the key to getting them to eat their lunch. If you empower them to make choices with your guidance and prepare their lunch, they’re going to feel good about it.
2. Don’t give them too much! If your child is consistently coming home with leftover food, you may need to reduce the amount you’re giving them. Without measuring or getting technical, each food group should be about the size of their fist.
3. Don’t pack the same thing every day. Make sure you have a variety of foods prepped and ready to grab. I’ll often have mini carrots, celery, cantaloupe, or red peppers cut and bagged ahead of time to make packing lunch a snap, but choose things your kids like. Remember to ask them what produce they would like. This will lead to them eating more of those foods because they picked them out.
4. Balance! Make sure your kids have a fiber-filled carb, protein, and some healthy fats and veggies (for additional fiber) for a complete meal. Having this combo is going to keep them fueled for the day and ready for those afternoon classes.
Healthy Lunch Ideas
Here are 10 balanced lunch ideas that take less than five minutes to make. Remember, preparation is key!
1. DIY Charcuterie: salami, nuts, fruit, and veggies
2. Turkey & Cheddar Rollups with fruit
3. DIY Lunchable: turkey, ham or salami, crackers, and cheese
4. Taco Bowl: leftover taco meat, tortilla, and avocado
5. Pasta Salad: noodles, veggies, and meat
6. Hard-boiled egg, veggies, fruit, and nuts
7. Turkey Wrap: turkey, cheese, tomato, and lettuce
8. Sandwich of choice with celery, berries, and trail mix
9. Yogurt with chia seeds and berries
10. Chinese Chicken Salad
Remember, it’s all about making better choices over time. Don’t try to switch everything all at once or you will face rebellion! A few treats here and there are completely fine for your kids, so swap some things, but keep some of their favorites so everyone is happy.
About Tasha Rosales, Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner & Nutritionist, Wellness Homemade
Wellness Homemade takes a new approach to providing health and wellness coaching that will leave you feeling stronger and healthier than ever. Tasha meets you where you are to help manage your overall health. Check out more information about healthy eating, meal prepping, and more at wellnesshomemade.org.