It’s that time of year again folks! I cannot believe it, but Facebook does not lie. I saw all of the pictures the last few days of everyone’s very cute kids in their first day of school outfits. You know what that means…It’s time to get back into the fall routine of packing healthy lunches for the kids (and grown up kids)!
Focus on nutrient dense, REAL foods!
Fill lunch boxes with quality fats and proteins to maintain energy and focus throughout the afternoon. Resist the temptation to send typical lunch foods that are refined and processed (i.e. bread, crackers, chips, cookies, pop, juice boxes, candy, etc). These convenient foods might be easy to grab and stick in the lunch box, but the high sugar and carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar to spike after lunch and soon come crashing down. This can cause your student to lose energy and focus and be ready for a nap before the afternoon is over On the other hand, a lunch with more fat and protein keeps blood sugar even, keeping your student satisfied and engaged all afternoon.
Some of our favorite nourishing lunches include:
Chicken salad, celery with nut butter, and a few slices of high quality cheese
Two Hard boiled eggs, cornbread muffins smeared with real butter, and a mashed avocado (guacamole) with bell pepper slices
Homemade soup in a thermos, plain yogurt topped with blueberries, nuts, and cinnamon (See picture)
Lettuce wraps with ham, cheese and avocado slices, handful of nuts with unsweetened dried fruit (easy trail mix), and applesauce
Below are lunch box friendly ideas to nourish your family and keep everyone satiated and satisfied until dinner time!
- Wrap a nitrate/nitrite free lunch meat (Applegate Farms) around slices of avocado
- Breadless sandwiches! Check out these ideas for 15 breadless sandwiches: no bread sandwich ideas
- Homemade soup or leftovers in a thermos
- Chicken, tuna, or egg salad made with homemade mayo
- Salad with homemade oil and vinegar or ranch dressing (easy to make from homemade mayo)
- Guacamole with veggies
- Hard boiled eggs
- Lettuce Wraps
- Handful of nuts
- Unsweetened dried fruit
- Homemade fruit and nut bars
- Homemade muffins (Freeze well) – These are a few favorites: cornbread muffins and banana muffins
- Good quality cheese, preferably from pastured cows
- Unsweetened, Plain, Full Fat Yogurt or kefir
- Apple or celery w/ nut butter
- Unsweetened applesauce - This is easy to make in a crockpot: crockpot applesauce
- Beef Jerky (make your own if you have a dehydrator!)
- Smoked salmon
- Homemade fruit snacks
- Coconut bombs
Remember that transitioning to a real food diet may not happen overnight.
If you aren’t at the point of making your own mayo and ranch dressing that is okay. Do what you can do and keep moving in the direction of eating real foods! The important thing that I want everyone to realize is that many of the “modern convenience foods” aren’t that difficult to make on your own. The real ingredients that you will add will be much better for you than the ingredients used in the processed foods in the middle aisles of the grocery stores!
A couple of tips to help:
Set aside a couple hours each week to prep lunch items (i.e. cut veggies, make a big batch of soup or chicken salad, make and freeze muffins, etc) will make it easy when trying to get everyone out the door in the morning!
Involve your kids in the process by encouraging them to help make, choose, and pack their lunch with you!