Why to pack a lunch: 1. it’s cheaper. 2. it’s healthier. 3. it tastes better!
Packing a lunch may not be the easy way, but keeping your health goals in focus is the first key to staying motivated. It is also a great feeling to have control over what you and the kids eat! Be mindful when you look at food, pack to nourish or heal and to make you or the kids feel great!
Here are some easy tips to help!
~Plan your school lunch week. Just like for dinner, make a meal plan for school lunches. This takes out the what-are-they-going-to-have-for-school-lunch-today questions and the wasted energy and worry output.
~Make enough dinner for leftovers. One of the most obvious tips, but one we need to hear over and over is to make dinnertime work for lunch too.
~Another obvious tip…Put leftovers in the lunchbox right after dinner. Getting super practical here, put your dinner leftovers in the lunchbox or lunch container right after dinner, before you clean up.
~Cook a big batch for lunch on Sunday. But maybe leftovers aren’t your thing, or you like to cook over the weekends instead. Lots of people say they do their lunch prep on Sunday.
~Get the kids involved. If you have only healthy food in the house it’s easy as they get older to have them more invested in their lunch preparation. Have them roam your fridge and shelves to select what they want or have them choose from the ‘menu.’ They’ll eat more if they have more choice in the matter. Even if they are little they can still make choices such as ‘Carrots or celery?’ As they get older give them more and more responsibility.
~Turn healthy foods into fun foods. Use cookie cutters to make shapes out of deli meat, cheese, or a melon-baller for fruit. Use kid-friendly skewers to make colorful food kebabs. Create a theme for the day and have all of the foods in their lunch relate to the theme.
~Make your own snacks and skipped the processed ones. Kids rely on snacks to keep their energy up, but the type of snack is important to consider. Packaged snacks tend to lack important nutrients and can be high in sugar. Take control by making them yourself!
~Have a water only rule. Juice boxes are sugar water by another name. Have your kids get used to drinking water. After a while they’ll stop asking for anything else. There are plenty of cute and fun water bottles out there to make this more interesting. Make sure they are safe by using glass or stainless!
~Find a lunchbox or bag that keeps food truly fresh. Once you’ve made your lunch, if it doesn’t stay tasty you won’t want to eat it. We love the stainless boxes from LunchBots and Planetbox. They are non-toxic, non-leaching, safe from BPA, phthalates, and lead.
~Do whatever you need to do to remember your lunch! Whatever it is — putting your keys in the fridge, hanging a note on your front door, whatever works for you.
A few reminders for the adults who don’t like to pack….
~Buddy up with a coworker or friend. Trying to resist going out to lunch? Find a buddy to eat homemade lunch with a few days a week, maybe out at the park or a quiet outdoor space at the office.
~Keep your desk stocked with essentials. Last but not least, make your desk (or office) a comfortable place to eat lunch. Stock it up with real silverware and seasonings.
Erin & Blair