I have received a request for a topic of discussion- healthy lunch ideas...FOOD! How is it that something that is so essential is so difficult with kids? I struggle just like everyone else, but as I mentioned in a previous entry, I have received freedom from obsessing about my children’s eating. I am going to put healthy food in front of them (and in their lunch boxes) and when they eat, fabulous and when they dont, their loss! Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” I am just taking one meal at a time, THIS is the day, THIS is the meal!
My main goal (not always accomplished) with all of the food that I purchase is this: no added sugar (at least not in the first 3 ingredients), no high fructose corn syrup (this is in everything, even whole wheat bread), no artificial color (they do make Cheetos that are not orange), no partially hydrogenated oils and no bleached flour (I mean, they use actual bleach). When I look at a package, I make sure to look at the order in which the ingredients are in, they have to list them in order of quantity- so, if sugar is before chicken in soup you are not eating chicken soup but sugar soup- cereal is the worst at adding sugar. (I am sure everyone knows this stuff, but just in case- I watch a LOT of Dr. Oz!) Please know, when we eat out (which is probably once or twice a week) or eat at someone’s home, the girls get to have anything they want. Bring on the Corn Dogs and French Fries! But at home, we try to go natural! (I do also have to mention that my husband brings the girls doughnuts every Saturday morning- not just any doughnuts, strawberry sprinkled doughnuts: hello- artificial color, trans fat, sugar galore, bleached flour. Clearly it is an uphill battle!)
That being said, I have found some EASY, healthy staples that my kids love. Every child is different, so hopefully someone can receive good inspiration from this. If you have other healthy ideas, let me know, I am always looking for new ideas!
School Lunch Ideas: (we are not good at going nut-free and my girls dont like lunch meat, so this is what I have come up with)
- Hummus and crackers- Costco (as well as most grocery stores) have bulk/individual Hummus containers. You can also make Hummus super easy and cheap (there are tons of recipes online). I just make sure I get whole grain or 100% whole wheat crackers, on occasion they can have pretzel chips with it. (this is another “kit” with all of the goodies togetherhttp://sabra.com/products/Classic-Hummus-with-Pretzels) *NOTE: sometimes, I just send chips!
- Edamame- I buy this frozen in bulk from Costco or Sams, they come in individual packages so you can just heat up what you need.
- Pirates Booty- I dont know if my girls like eating this as much as they like saying the name, either way- they nearly lick the bag. (it is just puffed rice and corn with seasoning, not too bad!) You can get this anywhere really; Whole Foods, Amazon, Target, etc.. Search Amazon.com for Pirates Booty
- Yogurt “tubes”- Whole Foods has fun probiotic yogurt drinks or smoothies, YoKids has fun ones too. Trader Joes has Probiotic Smoothie drinks that Izzy loves to take to school!
- GoGo Squeeze- We like all of the varieties (mainly for my 2 year old), she doesn't have to spoon applesauce and it is 100% natural, no sugar added. Our Costco just started carrying this and my sister-in-law gets her’s on diapers.com. Search Amazon.com for GoGo Squeeze
- Other Ideas: Cheese and Crackers, string cheese, cup of grapes, my 4 year old loves V8 in her lunch, dry pasta (with just a touch of sauce, EVOO or butter), Blueberry scones from Whole Foods (or Trader Joes frozen), bagel and cream cheese
- Clif Bar Twisted Fruit: Sams has this in bulk, no added sugar and a lot better than fruit snacks. Clif Kid Twisted Fruit Ropes, Variety Pack, 8 Strawberry, 8 Mixed Berry, 8 Grape, Pack of 24 I love the fruit strips from Trader Joes too!
- Chicken nuggets in a thermos (apparently these stay pretty hot)
- Nutri-Grain bars (no nuts in the factory)
- Sunflower Butter sandwich- (just a light layer with jelly, honey or banana) LINK for more info
- Carrot and ranch packages (target has great ones) or apple with carmel or yogurt packages
- I like the snack size guacamole packages from Costco, Sams or the grocery has hem too- I send those with Triscuit Thin Crisps.
- Soup or Mac N Cheese in a thermos
Would love your ideas too, I am definitely not an expert on this, so send them my way! One of these days I will post up our favorite staple meals, I have found a couple that work well! Promise my next post will be on something other than food! :)