How to Make Healthy School Lunches and My Favorite Lunchboxes

Monday, March 5, 2018

By now you have probably concluded that to pack school lunches a million times every year is not included in your "top things I love doing first thing in the morning" list, or neither in your "favorite relaxing things to do before going to bed" list. On the other hand, maybe your kids are mature enough to pack their own lunches, or they enjoy eating the food served in your school cafeteria. And that is great that as moms we can find different solutions that work best for our families.

In our family, I am still packing my kid's school lunches, because control issues, anyone?! I let them buy school lunch on Fridays, but my oldest does not like the food served in the school cafeteria, so I also pack his lunch on Fridays.

If packing school lunches was a mathematical equation like two plus two equals four, it would make this entire process much easier to accomplish, right? But unfortunately, usually, it goes like this, 2+x+y+2-4=? Because kid number one does not like to eat grapes and kid number two wants more chips, and kid number one is super hungry on Mondays but forgets to eat on Tuesdays... You get the picture, you probably live this out every day!

So here are some solutions that have worked for our family, day in and day out, a million times!

1. Pick an everlasting lunchbox: I love, love the lunchboxes we use because my kids can probably throw them out of the yellow bus, and the lunchboxes will still be in one piece and work great next day. My oldest has had his lunchbox for five years now! His lunchbox has watched the death of my phone a few times, the dishwasher's failure, the stove's losing control of its heating and the slow degradation of the family car, while not missing a school lunch day and proudly displaying all its shine and shape. I am sure my grandchildren will get to use this lunchbox, and when we are all gone, this lunchbox will still be going strong! One word: stainless steel is worth the investment.

2. Select a lunchbox with four to five compartments: Four, that's it! Simplify the job by picking four things your child will eat and pack them for lunch. Make it even easier by dividing the chore into picking one carb, one protein, one fruit and one vegetable. Maybe add extra chips or healthy treats to make it more fun. Another reason all love these lunchboxes is because you can place them in the dishwasher without having to deal with several different containers.

The one above has a different layout but this format has been discontinued, here is a similar one

3. Chose ingredients that don't come inside little packages: I completely agree that small food packages make our lives much easier when packing lunch, but if our kids spend all their childhood connecting eating lunch with opening packages, they may grow up with a distorted image of what a sit-down meal should look like. Besides that, packaged foods will have added sugar, sodium, and additives. You will also be teaching them to decrease their trash production.

4. Water is all they need: Boxed juices may be fun and cute but they don't really provide any nutritional benefit to a meal. It's is a hundred times better for kids to eat apple slices than to have apple juice. Less sugar, less packaging, less sugary drinks habit making. I love this water bottle that will also last forever.

Just the right size to supply enough water for a school day

5. Teach the whys: It is not about following 5 or 6 rules, it is about teaching children the reasons behind eating a certain way. More than that, it is about falling in love with fresh foods, nonprocessed options and developing a palate for natural flavors.

There is a place for ice packs and another for a silverware and napkins.

6. Remind yourself why: There will be days when you are ready to just give up teaching your children healthy eating habits, but remind yourself of the whys. It takes time and daily effort to raise children, but it is worthy. Don't give up! If you want more ideas you can check out this book.

7. Make it fun: Another reason why I love the lunchboxes we use is that it makes any food looks good when they are nicely organized inside the compartments. I wish I had one for myself sometimes!

8. Let it go: Don't worry about providing a catered menu option every day. Who cares if your children are going to eat carrots every day for lunch? Unless they are turning orange, carrots can be eaten every day and provide great nutrition. So don't worry about variety as much as the quality of the ingredients. You can make up for variety at dinner time. Focus on quality and let go of the rest.

My two favorite Mayo to use on school sandwiches: Avocado oil Mayo and Coconut oil Mayo

What are your favorite ideas to pack Healthy School Lunches?

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