Well, it’s that time of year again, back to school, back to the old routine. If you are like me, you probably dread packing lunches, but force yourself to do it because you know it is the healthiest option. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Did you know that children between the ages of 2 and 6 need 1600 calories and kids over the age of 6 need over 2,ooo calories. If you have a very active teen, their needs could be as high as 2800 calories! Try to make the most of those calories by packing a healthy, well balanced lunch!
For the “Main Course” here are a few options that might be new ideas for you:
1. Dry cereal in a small container that the kids can add a carton of milk to.
2. A Rollup – Use a whole grain tortilla and wrap up whatever filling you want – turkey and cheese, avocado and beans, sliced apple or banana w/ peanut butter, the possibilities are endless!
3. A small thermos of soup, mac and cheese or leftover chinese.
4. A picnic. A small container of small pieces of turkey or ham with cheese and whole grain crackers. Or a small container of peanut butter that kids can spread on crackers themselves.
5. A hard boiled egg – boil a few over the weekend so they are ready to go!
6. A Fruit smoothie in a thermos.
7. Healthy home baked oatmeal raisin muffin, or apple bran muffin. Bake over the weekend and wrap then freeze individually.
For side options, I like to add a dairy (yogurt, pudding or string cheese), a fruit ( I prefer to cut up some melon or an apple or just pack some grapes). Whole pieces of fruit can be overwhelming for younger kids. A high fiber option such as raisins, popcorn, whole grain crackers or whole wheat bread. I also add a small portioned “treat” such as 2 cookies or a small snack bag of Sun Chips.
I usually add a juice box of 100% juice or chocolate milk.
I find it is easier and cheaper to “pre-bag” snacks over the weekend, that way I can just grab and throw into their lunch box, during those hectic morning hours. I know some people pack lunches the night before, but this never worked for me – I am lucky if I get all the dinner dishes done before collapsing!
What are your brown bag lunch ideas? Do you pack your kids lunch or do they buy the school lunch? Share your ideas!