It is hard to believe but school is back in session. Now comes the hard part…what to pack for your kid’s lunch? You want it to be healthy but also satisfying and delicious so it is not traded for Twinkies or Doritos. These tips can work for your lunch too. It is always healthier and more economical to pack your own lunch.
1. Plan. Planning is SO important for any meal. So when you are making dinner, make extra and think about what you can take for lunch the next day, whether its a sandwich, salad or soup. Include your child in making their own lunch so they will be invested in eating it! You want to plan so you are not rushing in the morning. Failure to plan will make you eat more and often times make bad choices.
2. Beans. You can put them in a wrap with rice or lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado and make burritos or add them to soups, salads or pasta dishes. Hummus is made from chick peas or garbanzo beans (different names depending on where you live) and can make a great sandwich or a dip with carrots, celery or other veggies. Beans have a lot of protein and fiber but NO saturated fat or cholesterol and are filling.
3. Soup. With the weather getting colder, soup is a great way to get a lot of veggies in and a great way to warm up your body so it can adjust to the cold weather. I love making soup and it can be so quick and easy. If you have bits of veggies, just add them to a pot, cover them with water, bring to a boil, simmer for 15 -20 minutes until they are soft. Blend in a blender or use a hand-held immersion blender and blend in the pot, season and simmer another 5 minutes. You can add beans or pasta to the soup to make it heartier. You can also saute the veggies in a little oi prior to covering them with water to make the soup richer and more satisfying. With a piece of bread, this is a very satisfying meal.
4. Add veggies whenever possible. When making a sandwich, add as many veggies as possible. Any entree should have a side veggie or salad to go along with it. Do not dress your salad ahead of time or it will be soggy. By adding a side vegetable or salad, it will be a complete meal and more satisfying to you so you won’t need to snack in the afternoon. Having your kids dip veggies into something, whether its hummus, guacamole or salsa will be fun and encourage them to eat their veggies.
5. Invest in thermoses. Many people forget that a thermos can be a great way to bring a hot meal, soup or chili for lunch. It is important to invest in quality containers such as stainless steel for cold sandwiches etc. and thermoses for hot things. There are different sizes for anything you choose. SO many new containers or packs are available now, it is a far cry from a brown bag lunch.