For the last few years school lunch has been a hot topic. I am thrilled to see this being discussed. We are all aware that the food we eat effects the way we feel physically and mentally. And I am sure I don’t need to go into the obesity epidemic in the USA! Many school districts have started making healthy changes in the lunchroom.
My district has started including fresh fruit and veggie options each day. The dessert options are sorbets and fresh berries with whipped cream rather than processed fat and sugar! Nonetheless, my kids prefer sack lunch to school lunch and most of the time I am happy to oblige. I like knowing my kids have a healthy balanced meal enabling them to pay attention during class and have energy throughout the school day.
Last year my kids ate school lunch less than 5 days. Packing lunch almost every day for 2 kids helped us learn a lot. Here are a few things we learned to make packing sack lunch easy, healthy and delicious!
- If you are like me you remember to pack your kids lunch at 10pm after the kitchen is clean and you have no energy left. Solution: Pack your lunches, (or have your kids do it), while you are making or cleaning up dinner. One mess and you are done for 24 hours!
- Cook a little extra dinner! One of the best ideas is to cook extra chicken, ham, quinoa, brown rice or pasta and chop extra veggies at dinner to save it for your kids lunch the next day. Combine one grain, one veggie and one protein to make a delicious and easy salad. For example, toss the quinoa with some black beans, corn, avocado olives and salsa and voila tomorrows lunch! Mix chopped chicken with mayo and celery and roll it in a whole wheat tortilla! What could be easier?
- Let your kids have a say in what they eat! Give your kids healthy options and let them choose something they would like in their lunch box. No, they won’t always eat the apple they chose, but letting them have a say helps them learn to make healthy choices. Remember to include an ice pack or frozen water bottle in your child’s lunch box to keep mayo and meats from spoiling.
Here are a few of our go to’s for sack lunch.
Chicken and Rice Salad
½ cup Brown Rice
¼ cup Cooked Chicken
A few grape tomatoes or ½ tomato diced
1 green onion diced
¼ cup Black Beans rinsed
dash of white wine vinegar
Dash of cumin and salt and pepper to taste
Toss together and serve
1 cup Cooked Pasta
¼ cup Bleu Cheese or Feta Cheese
Mixed Veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, black olives, tomatoes, etc.
¼ cup Diced ham
2 tablespoons Salad Dressing (we like Dijon Vinaigrette)
Salt and pepper to taste
Thai Veggie Wraps
1 Whole Wheat tortilla
Shredded or finely chopped carrots
¼ cup Spinach leaves
Radish or bean sprouts
Thai Peanut Sauce: 2 tablespoons Peanut Butter, ½ teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, dash of Sarache.
Spread Peanut sauce on tortilla top with veggies, roll tortilla burrito style.