Healthy School Lunchbox Ideas + FREE Recipe eBook
The beginning of another school year is upon us. Although, most parents look forward to getting kids back to school, they aren’t as excited at the idea of having to pack lunches again. I definitely know the feeling. Trying to pack healthy, nutritious meals that my daughter will enjoy, while keeping it both fun and tasty can be a challenge for anyone. So, I’m sharing some tips to help make packing lunches easier for you. Plus, I’m giving you my FREE “Back-to-School Lunchbox Recipes for Healthy, Happy Kids” eBook filled with veggiefied lunch and snack recipes that both parents and kids will approve of. All recipes are nut-free and some are also vegan, dairy-free and/or gluten-free.
Healthy lunches and snacks are critical for healthy and happy children. Proper nutrition plays a huge role in healthy development and disease prevention. Today, children are being exposed to more and more toxins and are eating too many nutritionally-void foods. Foods that just fill their tummies but not nourish their cells end up doing more harm than good. Inadequate nutrition can lead to nutrient deficiencies, developmental delays, allergies & food sensitivities, behavioural issues, emotional imbalances/depression, poor concentration, and poor academic performance. When I was starting to study nutrition (too many years ago to mention!), Type-2 diabetes was referred to as “adult-onset” diabetes and was found to occur in those over 40. Nowadays, diabetes is showing up in adolescence; along with other health issues, like cardiovascular disease, which is pretty scary to me.
One of my favourite quotes is, “Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body.” Keep this in mind when you are feeding your children. You want to ensure that you are providing them with all of the nutrients their growing bodies need. It’s not enough to say “Oh my kid won’t eat that”. As parents we need to be accountable for our children’s nutrition. The younger a child is exposed to healthy foods, the more likely they will grow into an adult who eats healthy food. Now, that’s not to say all is lost if you have a picky 10 year old, it’s never too late to instill good eating habits. However, it is necessary to lead by example. If our children see us eating healthy they will follow eventually! Remember though, they don’t have to LIKE everything right away either. Oh and by the way, I’m not opposed to the occasional treat, you simply want to ensure that they are eating nourishing foods first and ideally, choose treats of highest quality. (I’ve included some yummy and healthy treats in my eBook. You can sign up to receive your copy at the end of this post.)
Need some meal and snack inspiration? Below are 10 of my Healthy School Lunchbox ideas: (Follow me for more tips and meal/snack suggestions)
- Fresh fruit and veggies with healthy dips
- Veggie soups or brown rice & veggies
- Wraps or sandwiches stuffed with veggies and REAL chicken or turkey breast (not deli!)
- Bean or blue corn chips with guacamole, bean dip, or salsa
- Veggie pizza on spelt or gluten-free dough
- Roasted veggie chips
- Roasted chickpeas
- Fruit & veggie smoothies
- Yogurt parfait
- Leftovers are always perfect!
Ok, so you may be thinking good ideas but my kid won’t eat that. Here are my 6 favourite, proven-to-work, tips for successfully feeding your child.
- Be a role model. Children love to imitate their parents!
- Use the “one-bite” rule. They have to taste it before they can say they don’t like it. Palates are always changing, so offer it many times, not just once.
- Get kids in the kitchen! Children are more likely to eat it if they helped make it.
- Use a snack table. Keep cut up fruit and veggies, nuts, seeds, and other healthy options available for little nibblers to snack on as they play or for after school when they’re starving! 😉
- Be creative! Cut up food in fun shapes, use food face plates, or just put it on a stick. Kids love food on sticks!
- When all else fails, hide it!
We don’t always have time to make snacks from scratch, so for days like those I choose brands that offer healthy alternatives. Some of the brands I use for snacks and healthy treats include:
- Made Good Foods
- Enjoy Life
- Joseph’s Nutless Clusters
- Way Better Snacks
- Neal Brothers
- Sweets From the Earth
Over the last few weeks, I’ve created some school-safe snacks that are yummy and healthy. I’ve tested them out with kids (other than my own!) and adults. I hope you and your little ones enjoy them too! As I mentioned, they are all nut-free and school-safe; and the ones that aren’t already, can easily be made vegan, egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free. For any inquiries or questions about anything in this blog or about my recipes feel free to email me. All you need to do is sign up to join my mailing list and you’ll automatically be sent my “Back-to-School Lunchbox Recipes for Healthy, Happy Kids” eBook.
Thank you! Click here to download your copy.