With the kids heading back to school, it may feel like you have less say over their health and wellbeing. You may have time to make them a quick breakfast, but after that, it’s off to school where they’ll eat all the junk food they can get their hands on. And let’s be honest, school lunches can fall short of meeting parents’ health standards when it comes to their kids’ diet.
Take back some measure of control over your kid’s midday meal. The following are 5 quick and easy lunches you can pack for your kids as they head back to school.
1. Mini bagel sandwich:
Pack your kid a full-sized bagel, and half is sure to come back. Plus, those big-bready Os are packed with carbs which quickly convert to sugar. Buy mini whole-wheat bagels and fill them with deli meat slices, cheese, cucumbers and pickles. Their bag will come back empty and you’ll know they got some protein, calcium and even veggies in too!
2. Bento Boxes:
Lunch doesn’t have to include a sandwich at all. In fact, you can throw a fun healthy meal together in a minute if you have the right ingredients hanging out in your kitchen. Grab a bento box and fill each section with slices of pepperoni, cheese, grapes, carrots and hummus, olives and crackers. You can get every food group in one meal! The possibilities are endless and your kids are guaranteed to love it.
Photo via Martha Stewart
3. Yogurt Parfait:
Small jam jars or old baby food jars are perfect for this meal-on-the-go. Get your child’s favorite type of yogurt and fill the jar halfway. Add granola, fruit and/or raisins to the top, put the lid on and you’ve got a tasty filling treat that will earn big smiles. This option holds its own as a meal, or add it to a sandwich or bento box as a side.
Whether homemade or from the store, a nice hot thermos of soup is a great way to give your kid a cozy long-distance hug on those extra-crisp fall days. The secret is in the container. Make sure you purchase a high-quality thermos that holds heat well. Be sure the soup is piping hot when you pour it in in the morning. By noon it will be the perfect temp. Add some whole-wheat crackers, string cheese and an orange and you’ve got the perfect autumn meal.
Photo via Organised Housewife
Forget the traditional bready sandwich—make a wrap! Purchase a package of whole-wheat tortillas, spread cream cheese on one side and then layer on meats and veggies. Roll the whole thing up, bag it and pop it in the lunch box. While wraps provide your child with plenty of carbs, the bulk of their meal consists of high protein and vitamin enriched foods.
You don’t have to leave your child’s diet up to the unknown forces and influences they encounter throughout the day. And, sending your kids off to school with a meal that you can feel good about doesn’t have to be time-consuming. With a little planning ahead and a couple thoughtful purchases, you can make a healthy lunch in minutes. Plus, knowing they are eating well will give you a little piece of mind and will keep their learning on track.