I’m a health nut. I’m all about putting good things in my body and instilling in my sons to do the same. Enter the school year, however, and my boys are surrounded by lunches full of snack packs and processed food.
I put time and TLC into prepping and putting together nutritious lunches. They’re healthy and my kids like them, so I thought I’d share my five main meal planning tips and tricks with you.
1. At the beginning of the week, (Sundays), I wash and cut veggies and fruits and put them in Tupperware so they’re ready to grab-and-go. This is a huge time saver! Including condiments like hummus and guacamole to pair with the veggies makes eating more fun (what kid doesn’t like to dip?). Dips make veggies more enticing, adding necessary fiber.
2. Instead of a cliche sandwich, consider packing yogurt parfaits. Add some nuts, chia seeds and berries- gifting your kids the fiber, protein, and probiotics they need on a daily basis.
3. If you have about 10 minutes to spare in the morning, consider making some Banza chickpea noodles, and add some marinara, butter or olive oil. If your kid loves noodles, these are the way to go; any pasta made from chickpeas, lentils or beans are loaded with filling nutrients.
4. If your kiddo loves PB&J, opt for a fruit-sweetened jam like Crofter’s, a raw nut or seed butter of choice, and some chia seeds (brain food!). I look for a bread high in fiber and protein, with no more than 3 grams of sugar per serving. Silver Hills bread is an excellent option.
5. Finally, my boys’ favorite lunchtime creation are my esteemed pizza rollups, in which I use Ezekiel tortillas (zero added sugars), marinara, and organic shredded cheese. Once heated a few minutes, roll it up and wrap in aluminum foil or out into a hot food container.
In a nutshell, my healthy lunchbox rules include:
- Always include protein
- Always include sources of fiber (fruit and veggie)
- Always include a healthy fat such as butter, olive oil, nut butters, seeds, hummus (Fats help the body absorb all the vitamins)
- Skip refined sugary treats (Such as graham crackers)
- Send water instead of sugary juice. To make it taste better, add some fresh fruit, or even a few slices of cucumber
As for lunchtime organization, consider thermoses and food containers with dividers. I love using hot thermoses for leftover pastas, casseroles, or soups- they will often stay warm for hours.
Written by: Michelle Gulbas
Michelle Gulbas is a Scottsdale-based boy mom. The former educator turned family health coach enjoys helping families achieve optimal health by introducing them to whole, unprocessed, and nutrient-dense foods. Michelle loves educating people on how to simplify things in the kitchen; creating easy, nutritious meals.