As I listen to the crickets basking in the dry August heat, I know that just around the corner is that scary, yet much anticipated time of beginnings – Back to school. I know it is just shy of a month away, but I am already starting to think about what I am going to pack in my little girl’s lunch this year.
It is not always as easy as you think. Case in point, peanut butter and jam sandwiches are a no-no these days. A healthy little handful of trail-mix is also not allowed (due to nut allergies). Non-healthy foods, such as chips or chocolate, are not permitted (that’s not such a bad thing). Oh, and I also have to pack extra snacks for the day. It’s a complicated project… and it has to be done over and over again, every day from September to June.
I see many parents throwing into their kids lunch bag every conveniently packaged food you can think of – canned peaches, canned apple sauce, fruit boxes, granola bars (albeit nut free ones), Jell-O, pudding, premade sandwiches from COSTCO, and the list goes on.
Its understandable that making your kids lunch everyday is a pain in the butt. Trust me; there are times that I wish I could just give her money so she could buy something. But it is also an opportunity to make sure that your child is receiving a balanced diet, and with food that you know where it comes from.
To make my job easier, I invested last year in a few amazing lunch packing helpers that I feel really make a difference in the time it took me to prepare a lunch, as well as influenced me to pack good nutritious food for my little one.
I invested first in a Planetbox. I must warn you, they are expensive. However, if you look at the pros, compared to the price, it is well worth it. A Planetbox is a metal container with 5 compartments. With the accompanying bag, you no longer need plastic sandwich bags, or other garbage that pollutes our planet.
I also invested in some small tin snack tins, such as LunchBots (which are also great for snacks). Having a “lunch box” that forces you to fill all the compartments with the appropriate proportions, helps you provide all the food groups to your child. Some examples, include:
Vegetable / Fruit – baby tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, cut-up apple, berries, banana, grapes
Protein – hardboiled eggs, Edamame, cubes of chicken,
Carbohydrates – pita, half a whole wheat bagel, crackers, pasta salad
Diary – cheese, yogurt
Fat – hummus, salad dressing, mayonnaise, guacamole,
The options are endless – the point being is that food is not processed, portions are controlled, and allow your child to try a little of everything. It is also creative and fun to eat!
Check out these great lunch box ideas and get ready, set, go! School is back in!
If you don’t want to spend a bundle on a Planetbox, you can easily buy an alternative such as a Goodbyn, or other Bento boxes from your local store. Its not about the container you put the food in, its about what food you put in the container. But avoiding plastic bags, and plastic food containers not only helps the environment, you are not contaminating your child’s food with plastic toxins.
Some great lunch box recipes such as 10-minute guacamole, great with some whole-wheat tortilla chips, Edamame and pasta salad with Feta is also a great lunch-box addition and quick to prepare! And remember – lunch boxes are just for kids – they are great for adults too – especially if you are watching your weight, want to eat healthier, and spend less money on eating out near the office!
Gourmet recipes at your finger tips...