Healthy Lunches for Back to School

 

School Lunch

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

It is the return of the brown bag! As many of us return to school and routine coming up with a packed lunch every day can be tough. How do we pack a lunch that is both healthy and versatile? Here are some tips for making a nutritious lunch that is an effortless part of your daily routine.

  1. Make enough dinner for leftovers.

One of the most obvious tips, but one we heard over and over, is to make dinnertime work for lunch too.

  1. Put leftovers in the lunchbox right after dinner.

Great way to save time, put your dinner leftovers in the lunchbox or lunch container right after dinner, before you clean up.

  1. Cook a big batch for lunch on Sunday.

Spending a lazy weekend day is a great time to prepare for the week. Package right into the single-serving containers that go into the freezer. In the morning, grab and go! Make sure to pre-package healthy snacks like vegetables, berries and nuts that are ready to grab anytime during the week.

  1. Keep your kitchen stocked with essentials.

Stock it up with plastic ware, napkins, seasoning and condiment packets which are easily tossed into a lunchbox to spice things up!

5.  Make a Smarter Sandwich

  • Use different breads like 100% whole-wheat tortilla wraps (choose wraps low in saturated fat and made with no hydrogenated oils) or 100% whole-wheat pita pockets.
  • In addition to lettuce and tomato, try shredded carrot or zucchini and sliced apple or pear with a turkey sandwich.
  • Try avocado or hummus as a swap for cheese or mayo.
  • Try a leftover grilled chicken in your sandwich as a switch for lunch meat.
  1. Let Them Dunk

Sometimes it’s OK to let your kids play with their food, especially when they are getting extra nutrition. Try packing one of these fun dunks with dippers:

  • Apple and pear slices to dip into low-fat plain yogurt or peanut butter.
  • Carrot, celery and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip.
  1. Get Them Involved

When kids help pack their lunch, they’re more likely to eat that lunch! On nights you have a bit more time, like a Sunday night, have them choose which piece of fruit or what type of whole grain bread they want and let them assemble their lunch. Make this a weekly routine – it’s another great way to spend family time together and make an influence on nutritious choices.