Another parent once said to me, “It’s a big job to feed kids.”
What she meant was that it’s difficult finding foods your kids will like. Meal prep is a huge job. Kids need to eat several times a day, seven days a week.
Packing healthy school lunches is particularly challenging. Fist of all, the food must be easy to transport. It must also be appealing. Also, most children want to eat something that looks similar to what they’re friends are eating. They don’t want their lunch to stand out or draw attention.
Healthy School Lunch Ideas For Kids
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In one way, it’s infinitely easier just putting a ready-to-eat packaged “meal” that contains cheese, crackers and processed meal, along with a sugar snack. Except for the fact you’re giving your child food made with trans fats and sodium nitrate, as well as artificial flavors and colors.
Also, these highly processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients. Although we don’t hear about this in the mainstream press, GMOs have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. (That’s one of the main reasons I’ve decided to stop buying products that contain GMOs.) In the United States, unless a processed food package states it contains no GMOs, you should assume otherwise.
Healthy Snacks For School Lunches
Before I get into meal planning, let me talk about snacks.
One strategy is to copy what the other kids are eating. But buying versions that don’t contain trans fats, genetically modified ingredients, artificial colors or preservatives.
Having these packaged snacks may make your child feel as if he or she is eating a lunch similar to what everyone else is having.
Nowadays, you can find healthier snack options at your local grocery store.
You can also find them online. Vitacost is one of my favorite places to shop online for healthy things.
Packing Healthy School Lunch Ideas
Sandwiches are a school lunch staple.
I like to buy organic bread, because I know that nearly all of the bread sold in the supermarket, unless it’s labeled otherwise, is made with some genetically modified ingredients.
Corn flour and soy flour are often added to wheat bread. Unfortunately, in the United States, nearly all of these crops are grown from GM seeds. What this means is that they’ve been engineered to survive applications of a controversial pesticide called glyphosate, made by Monsanto. This is one reason GMO foods are so controversial.
Organic Bread Online
I can find organic bread my family will eat if I shop at certain stores, located nearly an hour away. But it’s also possible to order organic bread online. Because it comes ready-to-bake, you can enjoy that fresh out of the oven taste. This bread is sold at Vitacost, where I buy a lot of my GMO-free foods and other healthy items, at a deep discount. Vitacost also has a special Gluten Free Marketplace with a huge selection of foods, supplements and personal care items.
Packing Healthy School Lunch Ideas
When my own children were little, they attended a public elementary school, until I took them out and began to home school. Packing school lunches was a continual challenge. Both of them, when they were young, had health problems. Thankfully, they’ve recovered. But they spent a number of years on a severely restricted diet. So I totally get the challenge of packing healthy lunches every day, that they’d want to eat.
Oftentimes, I’d pack leftovers from last night’s dinner, along with kid-friendly snacks, such as Stretch Island Fruit Leather.
For years, my children were on a grain-free diet. Later, as they got older, I packed sandwiches made from rice bread. If your children don’t eat wheat, I highly recommend visiting the Vitacost Gluten Free Marketplace. It has an excellent selection and great prices on gluten free staples and snacks.
Back To School Lunch Recipes
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s challenging to find enough good lunch recipes that your picky eaters will like. This is especially so if your children have any sort of dietary restrictions, or if you’re trying to keep unhealthy foods out of their lunchbox.
The good news is that the Internet is filled with recipes. So if you need some inspiration on packing healthy lunches, there are some excellent resources. One of my favorites is Real Plans.
This is a professional meal planning service that helps make it easier to put healthy meals on the table. But you can also find an interesting selection of free healthy recipes on the site, even you don’t sign up. Just go to the Real Plans Main Page and then scroll down to the very bottom of the site. You’ll see a tab for the Resources section. Click on that and you’ll see a photo array of food selections. Click on any of these images and you’ll be taken to another page. On top, you’ll see a section for recipes.
Since this site is devoted to leading a healthy non-toxic lifestyle, I like to write about the importance of good nutrition. Many people with chronic illnesses search for the natural remedy that will restore their health. However, if’s very unlikely that any one remedy, or even a combination of remedies, will make much of a difference if you have a poor diet.
Healthy Back To School Lunch Recipes
Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten how to shop for a cook real food. This is where Real Plans can be a lifesaver. If someone wants to eat better, but doesn’t know how to get started, I urge them to sign up for just a month or two, so they negotiate the steep learning curve, until cooking healthy meals becomes second nature.
If you’d like more information on how Real Plans can simplify your shopping and cooking (once a week you get a shopping list that contains all the ingredients you need to make a week’s worth of healthy meals), click on the image below. You take this list to the store, and just follow the delicious recipes, which are also provided.
Real Plans can also give you ideas on how to make healthy school lunches. (maybe more information here)