It’s that time of year again when kids are heading back to school and parents are looking for new lunch ideas. What if I told you I had a lunch prep cheat sheet for you? Here are some fun, healthy, and easy ideas to get you through the school year!
There are 4 main components to capture in every lunch you make, proteins, carbs, fruits, and veggies. As a 5th category, you could include little treats every day or a few times a week as well. A simple life hack is to make a list of items in each category.
The hardest part of every lunch is wondering if the food will still be fresh when your kids unpack 4 hours or more later. The best way to avoid the food from going soggy is to make sure the food items don’t touch each other. Wondering how? Try packing your children’s lunch in a bento-style so whenever they have their lunch, it’s fresh to enjoy!
So what can you pack for lunch? Remember our food groups? For proteins, you could pack chicken, turkey, eggs, cheese, tuna, or if you’re looking for vegetarian options, you could try chickpeas, black beans, almond butter or edamame. Carbs include whole grain pasta, whole wheat bread, crackers, granola, pita bread, popcorn, or cereal. You could pack either dry or fresh fruits, or even alternate between the two depending on what your kids like. A few options include dates, raisins, peaches, apples, berries, oranges and melons. The final category is veggies where you could pack baby carrots or shredded carrots, celery, cucumbers,bell peppers, sweet peppers, spinach, or a salad mix.
If you’re wondering, no, I haven’t forgotten the treats. Every once in a while when maybe your children have been having a bad day, or they’ve done exceptionally well, or even for no reason at all, you could include a little treat for them to look forward to. A few treat options are cookies, fruit roll-ups, jelly beans, two-bite brownies, pudding or jello.
Feeling like taking this lunch one step further? Add a little note for your children with their lunch. The notes could be something simple like “I hope you’re having a great day” or “I love you” to something more encouraging like an inspirational or motivational quote. You could even alter between the two or add some jokes to spread a smile.
To make things easier for you, I have listed all these items and more in a simple cheat sheet. Simply combine an item from each category and there you have it, a quick and easy lunch that your kids will enjoy every time!