School is starting back up and it is time to come up with some new healthy lunchbox meals. Here are some tips and ideas for packing healthy lunchbox meals your kids will love.
Set Yourself Up For Healthy Lunchbox Meal Success
Chefs prep their meals to prepare for busy restaurant services, and any busy parent will find greater lunchbox success when they put in place the ingredients of their kids’ favorite midday meals ahead of time. Before the alarm rings on Monday morning, pack single serving portions of snack foods to grab and go during the week. Wash and cut up veggie sticks and pack portable portions of dip. Baked goods like muffins or cookies can be made ahead and packed in the freezer in plastic bags. When healthy options are at the ready, it’s easier to avoid preservative, fat and sodium laden convenience foods.
Keep It Cool
The environment and your kids will thank you for keeping their lunch cool with a reusable, insulated lunch box. Instead of tossing in an average ice pack, give your kids an icy treat that will double as a refreshing treat. Blend Lifeway Kefir and fresh, seasonal fruit into a smoothie and freeze in a small plastic bottle. At lunch they’ll find a slushy treat along with their fresh, chilled healthy lunchbox meal.
When Preparing Healthy Lunchbox Meals, Think outside The Loaf
Don’t be a square when it comes to sandwiches. Bagels, pitas, tortillas and other bread add variety to eating pb&j every day. Sandwiches are great vehicles for a bounty of healthy ingredients, like reduced fat veggie cream cheese and cucumbers on a bagel or hummus and grated carrots in a tortilla. Add variety to your sandwich lineup to avoid the lure of lunchroom pizza.
Roam Beyond The Ranch
Ranch dressing can certainly make a carrot stick more kid friendly, but can pack a lot of empty calories as well. Pick a more nutritionally dense dip like hummus or nut butter for veggies. Or try substituting lowfat, probiotic Lifeway Kefir for mayonnaise, sour cream or buttermilk in any ranch dressing or veggie dip recipe.
Make Some Noise
Crunchy snacks are popular for a reason. Hearing that crunch sends a signal of satisfying hunger to the brain, but you don’t need fried potato chips to make it happen. Fresh snap peas, baked crackers or brown rice crisps will give a sack lunch some satisfying texture along with filling fiber and essential nutrients to make healthy lunchbox meals.
Get Your Kids To Help Make Healthy Lunchbox Meals
Skip supermarket treats that can be full of artificial ingredients and unhealthy additives and get your kids cooking. Use wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour to make muffins. Or have your kids pick their favorite veggies to make lunchbox friendly veggie sushi with brown rice and nutrient rich nori. Kids deserve something sweet, too! Homemade cookies can be packed with dried fruits and nuts instead of hydrogenated oils and refined sweeteners. Letting your kids have a hand at what goes in their lunch will make trying healthy new things easier.
Add A Little Culture
Multicultural menus are a great way to add variety that keeps lunch interesting and provides diverse nutrients when creating healthy lunchbox meals. Spanish tortilla is packed with protein rich eggs, and fried rice can be a great vehicle for your kids’ favorite veggies. Lifeway Kefir ProBugs are an Eastern European treat with a full serving of live and active probiotic cultures that boost immunity and enhance digestion. Pouches are great for little ones and ProBugs Blasts are perfect for tweens.
Pack a healthy drink like water or organic drinks.
Guest post by Lucy Butka, who is a Community Manager at Lifeway Foods.