Bye Bye Bad School Lunchbox

With the kids going back to school, your schedule is going to get a little more chaotic between lunches, homework, afterschool activities, earlier bedtimes and about another 1000 things that come up from day to day. Here are some healthy quick tips to get you through the lunchtime and snack madness that can be prepared ahead of time.

School lunches are “gross” according to our kids, but the facts are, they are surprisingly healthier then the white bread sandwiches, chips, cupcake, soda or fruit drink you may be packing them.

Why?

In a nutshell, without getting too technical, enriched bleached flour has no nutritional value and is a known carcinogen. It is harmful. The chips are full of fats, carbohydrates, Red and Yellow dyes and more harmful ingredients. The cupcakes are filled with sugar, enriched bleach flour, high fructose corn syrup and fat. Soda’s contain a lot of sodium and sugar. There are approximately 18 teaspoons of sugar in a single bottle and will cause your child to become dehydrated throughout the day and also have a sugar crash. Feeling sluggish about an hour after lunch, caused by the foods they are eating, is also going to hurt their performance in class.
The fruit juice? How much fruit is really in that fruit juice? It isn’t fruit juice unless you squeezed out the juice from the fruit into a juicer that morning. If you had that time to do that, you most likely wouldn’t be reading this blog. So, instead of fruit juice, throw in a real piece of fruit along with a bottle of water.

Here are a few healthy lunch ideas, if you pack your child’s lunch:
• Quinoa salad
• Sandwich made on whole grain or Ezekiel bread (no processed meat)
• Apple slices with peanut butter
• Fruit
• Nuts
• Fresh soybeans (edamame)
• Mini rice cakes with natural peanut butter
• Frozen bananas, grapes or mangos
• Chopped raw vegetables and hummus dip

Some quick snack ideas that can be prepared ahead, kept in a zip lock bag, and kept in the crisper are:
• Celery with Peanut butter
• Fresh fruit either one kind like blueberries or a several different ones like blueberries and strawberries.
• Sliced peppers. (Different colors seem to be more appealing to kids)
• Mixed nuts. (unsalted. If your child isn’t used to unsalted nuts mix the bag with ½ salted and ½ unsalted and start filtering out the salted until they get used to the taste.)

It’s also a great idea to label and date the bags. You want to know when they were made.

You must plan to be healthy for yourself and your children. Taking an extra 15 minutes per week to do so, will prove to be life changing. Say bye bye to the unhealthy school lunchboxes and hello to healthy and nutrient dense lunches and snacks.