Happy & Healthy School Lunches


laptoplunch1108, originally uploaded by veggiebytes.

It’s November now and you must have packed at least 2 months worth of kid’s lunches. Have you been caught in the routine of feeding the same ham & cheese sandwich on white bread, Doritos, and juice box to your child for lunch? Are you wondering how you can add more veggies to you child’s diet?

We all know that having the proper food will help your child’s body to grow and give him the necessary nutrients so he can learn. I’m here to help you think creatively about giving your child a healthy lunch, whether at school or at home. Please no Lunchables!
You’ll save $$$ too!

Let’s talk about how your kid brings his lunch to school. Prepackaged meals, Ziploc bags, juice boxes, and even paper bags create a lot of waste. Go green and get a lunchbox. Even before there was this buzztalk about the environment, that’s just what people did…used a reusable container, like a handkerchief, or metal box.
We recommend the Laptop Lunchbox because it is slim and has 4 different compartments and a sauce container, that fit neatly into the “laptop”. It easily holds a
variety of lunch goodies and all the food just looks so adorable that way.
Cute Japanese bento boxes or stainless steel tiffins from India, bring your lunch practically and in style. For hot soup, spaghetti and dinner leftovers, you’ll do yourself a favor by getting a hot food thermos. The Laptop Lunch brand offers a stainless steel version. Lastly, it’s important to get enough water. If you can break the habit of giving your child sugary juice drinks, I would highly recommend it. Even 100% organic juice just adds extra calories and sugar. A stainless steel water bottle or a BPA-free plastic one will keep your child hydrated. Having a point-of-use water filter at home will make it easier to give your child water with less contaminants than in the tap. Toss in a cloth napkin and you’ve got virtually nothing to throw away!

Now for what you can put in that nifty lunch box. 
 
*There’s no need to have peanut butter and jelly everyday. Your child likes it you say? Why not try almond butter, cashew butter, or even nut-free sunflower butter?
Try all-fruit preserves made without corn syrup. Go beyond grape or strawberry….they
might just like boysenberry!

*Dinner leftovers – These are the easiest to pack because they require no planning and are usually healthier than pre-packaged snacks from the store. Mom’s love is included!

*Give them some cooked rice, a couple veggie sticks, and some nori seaweed sheets
 and they can make their own sushi. How cool is that! Seaweed sprinkles with veggies and sesame seeds that make these taste extra good as would a tiny container of soy sauce.

*Try ethnic pocket foods! Tacos, quesadillas, samosas, eggrolls, pierogis,
 calzones, gyoza are all hand-friendly.

*Dips – Children like to dip. It’s a well known fact. Any veggies become more likely to be eaten if they can be dipped in a sauce. Hummus is high protein and saturated fat free. You can also make a ranch style dip by blending soft tofu with fresh basil & dill, lemon juice, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

*Soup – Nothing warms a child like soup. Make a huge pot at home and you can freeze individual portions. Most canned soups will be high in sodium. With a side of whole wheat organic crackers made with flax seeds you have the perfect lunch for on a cold day.

Desserts? You say your child won’t be happy without a Ding Dong?
Too much sugar lowers a child’s immune system and can cause blood-sugar related slumps and behavior problems.
If you must give something sweet, try fresh fruit or a homemade muffin made with
fruit and reduced sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners aren’t the answer easier.
Try brown rice syrup, agave or stevia. Nobody *needs* desserts and even Cookie Monster is now saying that cookies are a “sometimes” food.

The best way to promote healthy eating anytime is to eat healthy as parents and take time to eat together. Let them help you make their lunch. Wake up an extra 10 minutes early to make sure you have time or even better make lunches the night before.
Have healthy choices always available and don’t be tempted to buy foods that don’t support you or your child to eat better. Talk to your children about healthy choices, how
eating healthier makes you feel great, and how it makes everyone in the family happier.

For more vegetarian lunch inspiration, check out this awesome blog that has won many web and blog awards, The Vegan Lunchbox

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Comments

  1. Great post!!!!!

    Thanks for all the ideas!

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