Where did summer go? Is it just me or does it seem like I blinked and it was over? As the lazy days of summer are coming to an end, it is time to start thinking about returning to the routine. Getting everyone up and out the door in the morning while trying to pack nutritious and delicious lunches can seem very overwhelming.
As health conscious moms we all want to make sure our kids are getting the nutrition they need to keep them focused and full of energy throughout the day. We also want to make sure we send them to school with food they are actually going to eat.
Unfortunately, a lot of lunch options for kids come prepared, prepackaged or frozen, loaded with sugar and sodium but lacking in nutrition. The good news is with a little preparing and planning, sending your kids to school with a powerhouse lunch is possible. Here are a few of my favourite healthy lunch box ideas:
Overnight oats – who needs Cocoa Puffs when you can have Salted Turtle Overnight Oats? A great way to start the day, and can easily be prepped the night before so you and the kids can grab it to go when you are running out the door.
Mason Jar Zucchini Pasta Salad with Avocado Spinach Dressing – this is not your average salad. I love Mason Jar salads and this one is especially good.
Sprouted Quinoa Pizza – kids love pizza, so send them off to school with a healthy lunch that tastes great. This is a recipe you can easily involve kids in the night before. Let them dress their individual pizzas with whatever toppings they like.
Crispy Quinoa Cakes – the quinoa in this recipe provides a complete protein source and gives these cakes a wonderful chewy texture. The oven bakes them up golden and crispy without any frying required. They’re great for meal time or snack time and can be eaten hot, cold or topped with hummus.
Chocolate Avocado Pudding – some kids might be reluctant to eat avocado, this nutritious yet delicious recipe is great because it disguises the avocado as something most kids can’t get enough of – chocolate pudding!
Gluten Free Banana Bread Muffin Tops – a twist on traditional banana bread, these gluten free, sugar free Banana Bread Muffin Tops are chewy, easy to make and sure to be a hit with the kids.
Strawberry Fruit Leather Recipe (with Beets) – as a kid I loved fruit-roll ups, now that I’m grown up, and a holistic nutritionist, I could not imagine eating or sending them to school with my kids. It’s scary to look at the ingredients of these prepackaged “fruit” snacks, made up almost entirely of refined sugars and other ingredients too complex to even pronounce. The good news is making your own is super easy!
Soft and Chewy Baked Granola Bars – store bought granola bars are typically loaded with refined sugars and other additives. These healthy granola bars contain nuts and seeds to provide your child with much needed fuel for the day.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – every mom needs a healthy, go-to cookie recipe.
Totally Addictive Kale Crisps– kale chips are a great snack, incredibly easy to make and typically require few ingredients. While most recipes require a dehydrator, this version is great given it has been created specifically for the oven instead.
Almond Joy Bites – your kids won’t be missing processed junk foods with these treats made entirely of real foods.
Other snack ideas that contain protein and healthy fats while requiring little to no prep include:
- Homemade trail mix – mix any combination of organic walnuts, almonds, cashews, coconut flakes raisins and any other nuts/seeds in a container.
- Plain yogurt or kefir topped with honey, berries and cinnamon.
- Almond butter and apples – simply cut up an apple (or banana) and send along a small container of almond butter.
- Ants on a log – celery sticks topped with your favourite nut or seed butter and dried fruit.
- Organic veggies and hummus.
Since Noble is not quite ready for school I don’t have to worry about making lunches yet, but I am interested to know what works for you? What staples do you always stock? What tips do you have to ensure you kids are taking a healthy lunch that they will eat? What do you do to create a healthy lunch box? Please share your best advice below.
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