4 Easy Steps to Packing Your Kids Lunch
School has started back for my Stewart littles and it is time for creativity to set in when it comes to packing nutrition for their day. As an Integrative Health Coach, getting them the right nutrition really matters to me, but as a mom of 4 it can get a bit overwhelming. I actually hate packing lunches but love for my kids to get real food.
Did you know that during a school year, your kids will eat around 900 meals? And if they are fed breakfast too, that is over 1500 meals they will eat while at school.
I believe that our health happens one bite at a time, one meal at a time, over a week , in each month, every year. We are in the long race in our relationship with food and so it really matters what I do on a weekly basis.
Even if I hate packing lunches, I am going to do it because I value my kids long term health.Whether you are motivated by what you value, what is fun, or by cool tools, I hope this post will help you when it comes to packing nutritional food for your kids this school year.
1. Make things Simple
My kids all have different needs when it comes to nutrition. This makes packing lunches a little bit more challenging. I have one kid that has to be strict paleo, one kid that only likes 2 veggies, another kid that wants cookies for lunch and the last kid will eat garbage. My solution- keep it simple.
I take the most challenging, the paleo kid, and try and make that the main type of lunches I give for everyone. Then I will add other things to lunches for kid preferences minus the garbage.
My 2-veggie kid gets those 2 veggies alternated in the lunch every week. I use weekends to try new ones and hope that by the end of the next year, we will add another veggie.
Don’t worry about packing the perfect lunch. It will change over time. Just focus on the basic real foods they will need.
2. Focus on 4 Nutrient categories during lunch time
Grassfed organic is best, also veggies, nuts, and seeds are packed with protein!
Grassfed Butter everything, Coconut oil, Olive oil salad dressings, and choosing quality fats is important.
Colors of the rainbow! Whole fruit is important and super foods like Goji berries are packed with nutrition!
Our kids don’t drink enough water. Sending them water in their lunch will help them drink at least 50% of their body weight in ounces. If my kids have water leftover after school, they have to finish drinking it before snack. We save milk and smoothies for home.
After you know what nutrients to focus on, you want to come up with 10 lunch ideas and rotate. When you have a list of lunch ideas, lunches you will not end up with the same sandwich, chip and fruit every day.
Start small, with one creative meal a week and slowly add in more new lunch ideas. Here are some ideas from our home to yours to help you get started!
3. Have 10 Nutritional Lunch Ideas
1. Homemade Paleo Pizza with Raw milk cheese (with jar salad or favorite piece of fruit)
We will be posting our own paleo pizza recipe ahead, but for now, you can use this one. We purchase our raw milk cheese from Trader Joes or get it from our local farmer. You can add veggies on it or your favorite meat! One of my kids learned to eat spinach by putting it on the pizza.
2. Homemade mini tacos (with blue corn chips, salsa and cilantro cabbage salad)
Stay tuned for our stewart mini taco recipe!
3. Soup (with paleo crackers, blue corn chips or salads to add in)
We eat soup for dinner at least 2 times a week. I will make enough so that the kids can have it in their lunches. So, soup can sometimes be my kids lunch for 2 days. Tortilla Soup, Coconut soup and chicken noodle soup are some of our favorites and we use homemade bone broth for great nutrition! You can see more here.
4. Lettuce Wrap burgers (with raw veggies and guacamole or salsa)
It is really not as hard as you think to take the bread from a burger. Use green leaf lettuce and wrap the burger adding in all the veggies and cheese you want! Add sauces that are free of sugar and you will have your kids more excited than you realized. This is our youngest son’s favorite meal. You can wrap a hotdog or lunch meat in a lettuce wrap too. Separate it all and have them put it together at lunchtime.
5. Chilli (with Paleo crackers or Blue corn chips plus add in herbs like cilantro)
We make a white chicken chili and a Chickpea chili that my kids love! They all have different add-ins and I pack those separately in their lunch. Chili seems to be only cooked during winter months, but the protein is so important and we eat it, along with our soups all year long. I just serve them warm rather than boiling hot.
6. Build your own bowl (with soaked rice, cilantro, favorite meat and veggies or cheese)
7. Salmon Tapas (with sourdough bread, grassed butter served with raw or cooked veggies)
8. Paleo pigs in a Blanket (with Organic veggie chips and guacamole or carrot sticks and homemade ranch dressing)
10. Meatballs (with gluten free noodles or spaghetti squash)
We all want to pack good food for our kids. Once you know what to focus on, you want to develop a plan. You may even need someone else to come up with the meals for you. We are busy people and need help!
4. Use Helpful Resources
I love this site for help with packing, organizing and she has some great recipe books!
I love this site to help me with new ideas and meal planning. Even though I am capable of thinking through meals, I do not have the capacity to do so. The Kitchn does it for you with so many variety meal plans and shopping lists to go with it. They also have how to tutorials.
I use this site to help me with real food and to think through traditional foods for their lunch.
I love this site for lunch supplies because everything I buy there will contribute to my school. They even have a “Mighty Fix” that sends you new products to try each month to add safe tools to your kitchen each month.
There are a ton of sites to look at and pinterest has a million ideas, but I choose just a few to help me along. I focus on what works best for our kiddos and stick with nutrition. I have found that just a little help can go a long way.
Do you need a grocery store tour to help reset your meal planning? CLICK HERE to sign up for a free tour here in Austin during the month of September!