Back to School Lunches!
Well it’s that time of year again. Summer is coming to an end and many of you have already sent your kids back to school. I hope in spite of the summers dreadful heat, your family got to spend lots of quality time together and outdoors.
Now that the kids are back in school how can you be sure they’re getting the proper nutrition? How can you be sure when you pack their lunches they’re staying fresh until thelunch hour comes around? Today I’m going to share with you a few fun and simple ideas to send off in your child’s lunch box along with helpful tips to keep their food safe until they eat it.
First of all remember anything you eat at home for dinner can be packed for lunch the next day, and stay cold or warm with the proper lunch containers. In fact, many schools now have microwaves that the children can use to reheat their food. Here’s a quick video which shares the best thermos recommendations through the research of Good Housekeeping Magazine.
What to pack up? (If you’d like to know how to make any of the recommendations below just ask me and I’ll create a step by step video for everyone to view).
- Quesadillas – can make a healthy lunch. Make them in the morning and pack up right away or the night before and store in the refrigerator until ready to take off for school. Fill with chicken, beef, veggies, salsa and cheese and it becomes a healthy meal and one that your children will love. Slice it into wedges and they’ll be one happy camper. What about wraps, filled with turkey, chicken or fish and rolled with veggies?
- Soups – can be stored in a themos and are perfect on those cold winter days. Stick with vegetable soups, chili, or those with nutritional ingredients. Avoid heavy creamy soups or foods which can tire them, making learning after lunch difficult.
- Sandwiches – an all time favorite of children is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. Use fun cookie cutters to make eating a fun experience. All PB&J ingredients can be kept at room temperature without any harm of bacteria growth. If making other sandwiches be sure to have a good insulated cooler to keep foods safe until lunchtime. Like the link noted here, the Bento lunch boxes have separate compartments. So if your kids are funny about their foods touching, this solves that issue.
- Fresh fruit – always a perfect snack or side that can be stored at room temperature as well. Or what about a fruit salsa with some graham crackers to dip them in? This is yummy!
- Leftovers – pack up last nights lasagna, pasta, meatloaf, quiche, grilled chicken or chicken fingers with their favorite dip and fresh veggies.
- Vietnamese Vegetarian Summer Rolls – my favorite lunch and perfect when on the go. Check out my instructional video here and use your favorite ingredients. Have the kids help and it will become their favorite lunch of choice or after school snack.
You’d be surrprised how easy it is to come up with healthy alternatives to your child’s meal. Toss in dessert or have them get it at school. So long as the bulk of their meal is well balanced an occasional treat from the schools freezer is fine. At least I think so. Just keep in mind your child’s dietary needs if they have any, and be sure not to load them up on carbs or sugar that will slow them down for the rest of the day.
Don’t forget to check out my healthful tips for packing school lunches and yours. Keeping foods at the proper temperature will avoid any spread of bacteria and illness. Click here for video tips to avoid food borne illnessness.
I know you’re sad that the kids have gone back to school but do your best to enjoy that time during their school hours to exercise and eat right.
Note: If you’d like to learn how to make a particular dish listed above please let me know and I will do my best to create a step by step video for all to view.
Okay – this is a GREAT post! I don’t have children at home any more, but this is such relevant information! It’s amazing how easily the basics are over-looked!
I don’t have kids at home anymore either but I remember lunch box days like it was yesterday.
In fact both of my kids will be home this week so we can celebrate their birthdays. My son turns 25 on the 17th of August and my daughter turned 22 August 1st. It will be fun to cook for the whole family again. Plus I’m making a mile high birthday cake!
Though I don’t have any children myself, I remember my *own* lunchbox days and can honestly say that I would have preferred any of these options to the yucky cafeteria food every day!
Thanks Rosie for your comments. I know the only thing I ever LOVED actually at my school was their sloppy joes. They were so good.
I do think that the schools are trying harder to make healthier lunches and Michelle Obama has played a big part in that role. However, they have a long way to go.
My kids always had a brown bag to take to school, unless there was some sort of special school lunch planned for the kids. Someday, it will be gourmet! Or we can only hope.
I’m not packing lunch for my kids anymore, but I do pack my own school lunch every day, and these are great ideas! I always try to stress to my students the importance of healthy snacks and lunches- we’re going to try to prepare some healthy snacks in class each week. 🙂
You have some great ideas. I don’t have little one any longer but we do have a young grandson. So thank you!!!
@scrambledhenfruit – definitely check out my video on how to make summer rolls. I taught 500 girls scouts how to make them and it’s really quite simple and so healthy. It’s still one of my favorite snacks and meals especially when it’s so hot outside.
@My Journey With Candida – cooking with kids can be so much fun. If you share with them some fun simple recipes that they can put together themselves they can even prepare their own lunches and be proud of themself, while eating healthy.
Such a great post! When my kids were younger, I packed their lunches. Now they eat the “hot lunch” at school, but I miss the control! I pretty much knew exactly what they were and were not eating.
Fantastic tips here… going to send this one to all the moms I know with small children too… great post!
All I ever got was peanut butter or tuna sandwiches 🙁 and maybe some fruit.
@heavenly housewife – they say peanut butter is healthy and tuna sandwiches are as well. Of course maybe not smothered with mayo but still better than many other options. It sounds like you didn’t have it so bad. Fresh fruit too – WOW!