One of the most popular questions I get around this time of year is “Help – what do I pack for my kids’ lunches?” With kids back in school and adults back in more of a regular routine, packed lunches are definitely back on the agenda. I have put together a few of my top tips to help you get organized with healthy lunches on-the-go.
Keyrsten’s Top 5 Healthy Lunch Box Tips – for kids of all ages
1. Get organized and plan ahead
This really is the key to getting on track with lunches. Make a list of foods that you go through a lot of and that you always want to have on hand. Keep these items stocked in the fridge or pantry so you always have a supply of good stuff. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas:
· Raw veggies – snap peas, carrots, baby cucumbers
· Hummus or other dip
· Good quality deli meat (like REAL shaved turkey)
· Raw almonds
· Eggs (I always have a few hard boiled and ready to go)
· Mary’s crackers
· Sprouted grain bread
2. Get a good insulated lunch bag/ice pack if you don’t have access to a fridge or a thermos at work or for kids at school.
3. Stock up on Tupperware/containers for easy transport.
For kids’ lunches, I really like the stainless steel ones with removal compartments.
4. Pack lunches the night before
Mornings are always rushed and even with the best of intentions, it doesn’t always happen or you default to easier, convenience options that aren’t as nutritious.
5. Consider making extra dinner that can be turned into part of lunch the next day OR bring leftovers.
Many of my clients purposely double dinners so they can just pack up the leftovers and bring it to work the following day.
When packing kids’ lunches, try to include something from each of the following categories:
FRUIT – apple, pear, orange, banana, berries, etc.
VEGGIES – carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber slices, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, avocado (technically not a veggie, I know!), etc.
WHOLE GRAIN – leftover quinoa salad, sprouted grain bread, whole wheat wrap, noodles, leftover rice, etc.
PROTEIN – hummus, leftover chicken, sliced turkey, hardboiled egg, full fat plain Greek yogurt, beans, etc.
TREAT – healthy cookie, popcorn, Lara bar (be careful – some have nuts which may not be allowed at your school), dates, etc.
And whatever you do, don’t forget your lunch on the counter… that’s the worst!