Packing a lunch is a great way to save money. It also helps to keep you healthy. Eating right is easier when you make lunch yourself. It does take time and preparation. Plan ahead and keep in stock foods your family likes to eat. Sugar causes kids and adults to become tired, after the initial sugar high has worn off. Keep refined sugar products to a minimum. In place of regular chips, try baked chips or pretzels. Use an ice pack to keep perishables cold. Use trail mix, they have a nice mix of healthy, salty, and sweet. Be careful, some trail mixes are very high in fat and sugar, read the label. Try fresh, canned, and dried fruit. All are sweet and full of fiber. Check the label. Choose fruits packed in water or light syrup. Some dried fruits are rolled in sugar. Choose fruit with the lowest amount of sugar. Freeze yogurt and place in lunchboxes. For kids who like their veggies pack sliced carrots and broccoli florets. Don’t forget a drink. Use reusable drink containers. Fill with water or real fruit juice.
Have a boring sandwich makeover.
If you love peanut butter and jelly, try some of these variations: Peanut butter and raisins, peanut butter and bananas, peanut butter and apple slices, peanut butter and honey, or cream cheese and jelly. Choose jelly that has real fruit and not made with high fructose corn syrup.
If you lave lunch meat and cheese, try it in a tortilla, make a wrap. Mash up black beans with a little salsa. Smear on a tortilla. Add cheese and lettuce and you have a Southwestern Wrap. For added fiber use whole wheat bread, again check the sugar content. Add shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and dried cranberries to a lunch meat sandwich. If you have a child who hates sandwiches make them a lunchable. Use whole grain crackers, low fat cheese, and lunch meat. Add a healthy treat and a drink.
Chicken salad with low fat mayo is a great alternative to lunch meat. Try chopped chicken breast, low fat mayo, chopped apple, dried cranberries, chopped grapes, and chopped walnuts. It is full of fiber. Place on whole wheat bread and you have a very filling lunch.
Make a large pot of soup during the week for dinner. Place a serving size in a small soup thermos and you have a hot lunch. Kids can also use a small thermos to take food to school. Follow the directions when using the thermos, or you may have cold soup instead. Heat the soup before you leave, add a spoon, and you have a very quick lunch.
When packing a lunch, remember to bring in foods from as many food groups as possible. Eat the rainbow. Choose food that is healthy and that will actually get eaten. Kids tend to get tired of the same lunch day after day. Try to switch it up. Pack part of the lunch the night before, this saves time in the morning. Have the kids help pack their lunches. They are more willing to eat it, if they have some input of what goes in the lunchbox.