Skip to main content

Healthy Back to School Lunch and Snack Ideas



School Lunches have to appeal to the eye. I have found the most success with setting up a child’s lunch like an appetizer sampler in a Bento Box. A Bento Box is a container with multiple compartments.

 

Try to include protein, healthy fats and color: fruit/veggie in each meal.

 

Some lunch examples include:

1. Hummus, chopped veggies, rolled nitrate free cold cuts, and almond thin crackers or pita chips.
2. “make your own pizza” pita bread, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, spinach, turkey pepperoni, with a side of fruit.
3. Yogurt parfait- Greek yogurt with rolled oats or a low sugar granola, fresh fruit and chopped nuts.
4. Sliced apples, peanut or almond butter, hardboiled egg, 1-2 oz. cheese, and mini English muffin or bagel.
5. Corn Chips, guacamole, salsa, rolled chicken nitrate free deli meat, and ¼ c trail mix with dried fruit and nuts.
6. Black bean soup (or chili, or vegetable soup) in a thermos, wheat crackers and chopped fruit.
7. Cold cut sandwich on Ezekiel bread with veggies and hummus with a side of chopped fruit and 1-2 tbsp. nuts.
8. Chopped fruit, nut butter and a homemade protein muffin.
9. Chicken or tuna salad with wheat crackers, spinach, and a side of chopped fruit.

 

 

School lunches can make or break your child’s overall performance in the classroom and any after school activities that they participate in.  A school lunch that is loaded with processed ingredients and sugar will leave your child with a spike in blood sugars, providing a quick burst of energy followed by a drop in blood sugars, making them want to sleep in class and they will have minimal energy at after school activities.

 

The key to a perfect school lunch is balance and it also has to appeal to your child.  Children truly eat with their eyes and if it does not look good then they probably will not eat it.  Pack lunches in bento boxes and compartmentalize with cupcake silicone reusable “cups”.  For younger children who love to pick, pack finger foods like grapes, carrot sticks, cheese squares, trail mix, hummus and/or a sandwich. This is like a mini appetizer plate or a protein box that is sold at coffee shops. It can also work well for older teens and even adults at work, in the car or at their desk.

 Get them involved with the planning process.




 

Have them decide what kind of protein they would like, examples include:

• Nitrate free lunch meat
• Boiled eggs
• Greek yogurt
• Tuna/chicken salad

 

Then have them choose their favorite fruits, veggies:

• Apple slices
• Carrot sticks
• Cherry tomatoes
• Cucumbers
• Mandarin Oranges
• Celery

 

Last but certainly not least choose a healthy fats like:

• Hummus
• Guacamole
• Nuts
• Trail mix
• Nut Butter (almond, cashew or sunflower)

 

If your child is actually involved with the planning process they will feel like they “own” the lunch and will be less likely to throw away things that they do not want.  Teachers and cafeteria staff report that fruits and vegetables end up in the trash in most school cafeterias.

 

When you are packing the lunch, keep balance in mindand make sure to include protein, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats.  Limit processed grains and empty calories like cookies, crackers, and juice.  If they like dessert then pack a piece of dark chocolate.  Removing items that are high in sugar like juice and cookies will increase their ability to focus in classes after their lunch period.  It has been reported that over 12 million American children are medicated for Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD).  Sugar and excessive carbohydrates magnifies symptoms of ADD in children, healthy fats like nuts, and oils help reduce symptoms of ADD.

 

Always pack water over juice, all humans should aim to drink at least half their body weight in ounces of water per day, even more for those who are active.  It amazes me that student athletes will not drink any water at school all day long and then practice out in the sun sweating after school for 2 or more hours.  A dehydrated athlete will have a hard time focusing and more importantly could pass out from heat stroke or suffer from other dehydration symptoms.  Packing a large water bottle is the best thing you could send with your child EVERYDAY. All natural Hydroxide alkaline water is even better at reducing their chances of being fatigued and/or dehydrated. The best one I found is AQUA-OH!. It is all natural, comes as a concentrate and is the least expensive yet most efficient one out there. It actually eliminates acids (H+ ions) by the hydroxide (OH-) combining with it and forming water. This helps drastically reduce inflammation (much of which is caused by consuming sugar) which is a problem for all ages. It also helps clear the detoxification pathways which is very helpful for children and adults. Since it is a concentrate, let them help make it, you can add Stevia or fruit. This helps them take ownership of the water. 

 

Lastly make sure you keep the lunch at a safe temperature, this is often overlooked. Always pack the lunch in an insulated lunch bag or box with 1-2 ice packs depending on how big the lunch is. Sometimes kids have 4 or more hours before lunchtime, and they store their lunch in a locker that is outside in the heat.  If perishable items reach a dangerous temperature they will be exposed to harmful bacteria and could get your child sick.

 

As a parent one of the simple things we can do to keep our child healthy is nourish them with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins and optimal hydration.  Developing a healthy nutrition routine will carry over into their adult life decreasing their risk for developing chronic diseases that are related to weight gain such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and thyroid complications.

 

Always focus on color (both fruit and vegetables), high quality protein, and heart healthy fats. See the options listed below.

• Twist on PB&J (2 slices Whole grain bread, 1-2 Tbs. all natural almond or cashew butter and all natural fruit spread or better yet real berries + 1 apple + 1 serving carrot sticks with 2 Tbs. hummus for dipping.
• Lettuce Wraps with nitrate free deli chicken or turkey, tomatoes, spinach, 1 oz cheese and mustard + 1 c chopped melon + and ¼ c nuts or homemade trail mix
• 1 serving almond crackers + ½ c chicken or tuna salad + 1 banana + 1 c cucumber slices with salsa or hummus for dipping
• 6-8oz Greek yogurt + ½ c all natural granola + ½ c berries and 5 celery sticks with all natural peanut/almond or cashew butter and raisins (ants on a log)

 

 

A great resource for children’s lunches and recipes is 100daysofrealfood.com and The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice.

 

Snack options can be one or two of the items listed in the lunches above.

 

• Yogurt and fruit
• Hummus and chopped veggies
• Berries and nuts
• Sliced apple and cheese
• Trail mix with dried or fresh fruit
• Rolled deli meat with cheese and veggies
• Protein muffin

Written by:

Dr. Keith Kantor, a leading nutritionist and CEO of the Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating and Drinking (NAMED) program.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Copycat Boston Pizza's Bandera Bread

Have you ever had a craving for something but then once you looked at it you realized, I can make that myself for next to nothing? That's how I felt last night I thought about ordering in some food but then realized I really don't want to spend any money. I really wanted pizza bread from Boston Pizza. So I recreated it and oh my goodness was it ever good. Try some of these great recipes too!  Pizza Bread Dough 1 cup warm water 1 tsp instant yeast 1 tsp sugar 2 cups flour  Seasoning 1 tbsp melted butter 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion salt 1 tsp parsley 1 tsp rosemary 1 tsp basil 1 tsp oregano 1/2 tsp sugar 1. Combine the water, yeast, and 1 tsp of sugar in the mixing bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt and mix until a ball of dough forms. Roll ball onto a floured counter top and knead for a couple minutes.  2. Put dough in an oiled bowl and let rise for 30 mins in a warm place with a clean cloth draped over top. While your doug

Affordable Ways To Make Your Home Look Luxurious

How do they do it? Professional designers seem to pull it off so effortlessly, but how will you make your home look more luxurious? You could just employ a professional or you can personally undertake the task of transforming your home into a place of luxury on a budget. In order to save money on your purchases, be creative and vigilant in your pursuit for the perfect style. Follow our budget-friendly ways for making your home a vision of luxury. Think it through, choose a style Luxury look isn’t enough to go on, so before you start shopping and wasting your money on furniture and decorations you might not even use in the end, first do some research. Go online and do some window shopping and find which style is more to your liking . An elegant Victorian style or something more modern and chic? Don’t get me wrong, you may want to mix and match, but before you commit by buying anything, consider what look you are going for. White is the color of elegance Choosing white as yo

3 HOME IMPROVEMENT TO MAKE BEFORE MOVING IN

While shifting to your dream house, you may face a mountain of pre-move work, including downsizing, packing, hiring moving trucks, and other help. When you already have a list full of tasks, home improvements for the new house might be the last thing. However, handling the new house renovation before moving in is convenient for you in many ways. Planning home improvement is exciting and stressful both. If you are moving to a house that is not entirely ready, you have massive things to do. To make things smooth, create a list based on priorities. If you are shifting to a freshly build house, you do not need to make a lot of renovation, though you can add a little personal touch to it. When you make house changes before moving in, you can save your floor and furniture from paint spills. You will have an open space to plan the house interior. You can protect yourself and your family from hazardous odors and dust. There are several home improvements like removing popcorn ceil