How has your summer been? Busy? Mine sure has been. We kicked off the break by getting our spiritual high since Ramadan fell right at the start of summer this year. Then there was travel and spending time with family. We made a trip to Pakistan again this year. It was a lot of fun as always and it was tough for me to return home. I am always so sad to leave loved ones!
We are back home winding down summer and gearing up for the school year ahead! Whether you start the school year late August or early September, this post here is to help you pack lunch like an expert!
How prepared are you to send the kids off with healthy, nutritious lunch? If your answer is “NOT SO MUCH” don’t fret, I’ve got your back!
Read on for some great products, snacks and even a quick 10 minute snack recipe to have you come out on top!
So what are the ingredients that make up a great lunch/snack for your child? The food, first and foremost of course but also the products that you use to pack the food in, right? They make your life so much easier and adds to the fun for your kids.
While shopping for school supplies last week I came across Lunchskins reusable sandwich bags. They are
- Plastic free;
- Toxin free;
- dishwasher safe
Read more about these great bags here.
Another great alternative to plastic is the brown paper snack and sandwich bag by If You Care. Again, toxin free and responsibly resourced.
For water bottles this year we are going with the Zulu Atlas. Having tried stainless steel and plastic in the past, my son, who is extremely sensitive to after taste, decided to give glass a try. These bottles are made of soda lime glass which ranks highest of all glass in shatter resistance and environmental safety.
Also, I have stopped buying juices since most are full of added sugars. I would much rather have my kids eat the fruit than the “made from concentrate” juice. We now bring sparkling water which my older son has taken to and also Kombucha which we sometimes buy at the farmer’s market.
Great for in school snack time for little ones or as after school snack :
FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Fruits and vegetables will always be my favorites to serve as snack. Obvious choices are apples, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, grapes, carrots, cherrie tomatoes and cucumbers. Serve with hummus or ranch dressing and instantly take snack time up a notch.
If you are looking for a healthy snack on the go, my new favorite is the Lara Bar. Made with the fewest ingredients possible and date based, it is both delicious and healthy. I love that it comes in so many different flavors and is now available in bites too. My favorite is the chocolate chip cookie dough. If you fancy something fruity then give the blueberry muffin a try.
CLIF KID ZBAR
My kids just love the ZBar. It is made with organic ingredients, has no high fructose corn syrup and is gmo free. These do however contain naturally occurring and added sugars so I would tread with caution. The reason why these bars make it into my home is because of the high quality ingredients that the company claims to use as well as it being kosher.
There was a time not long ago that we happily ate prepackaged microwavable popcorn. The extra buttery kind! That was until I heard about the dangers of consuming the stuff. It has more to do with the chemical that lines the bag, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical is the same that is used to coat Teflon pans. It has been listed as a carcinogen by the EPA. Read the details here.
I have since started popping my own corn kernels and topping it off with some melted butter and Himalayan sea salt! My kids have not complained once!
This is another favorite that we make often in my home. I either boil or steam some frozen sweet corn and then season with butter, red chili powder, salt and lemon juice.
These are a great snack too, did you know? Load them up with some cheese, sour cream and butter and the kids will love it. Plus it has become a substitute for fries for my kids since they get their potato fix and it saves us from unhealthy deep frying.
A great option as always and the Organic Valley brand is a new favorite.
I prefer to sweeten my own yogurt but my kids also like the Chobani flip. It does contain raw cane sugar so make sure to limit these. Chobani also uses conventional milk but sources it’s milk from farms that treat their cows well and do not treat them with rBST. Also Chobani boasts non-gmo ingredients.
I am a big fan of leftovers. They save food wastage and time.
- Pasta and fried rice are great for next day lunches.
- Meats from leftover curries multi task as sandwich spread.I usually just chop up the meat; chicken or beef, add mayonnaise, salt and pepper and that’s it.
Either roll up a cheese omelette in a tortilla or put a scrambled egg between whole wheat bread, it’s a great way for kids to get their daily protein.
I bulk prep kababs on the weekend and roll one up in a whole wheat tortilla with some ketchup and mayonnaise. It keeps well in the lunch box.
ROAST BEEF OR CHICKEN SANDWICHES
I save the meat from when I make chicken stock. It makes for a great spread.I also make my own roast beef (pictured above). All this in an effort to eliminate processed lunch meat from our diet.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH BITES
Now here’s that quick recipe I was talking about earlier. This is sure to be as much a hit in your home as it was in mine. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites. I have to be honest and tell you the inspiration comes from my favorite Lara Bar but I seem to have got the ingredients and proportions right some how. This is a perfect activity for the kids to get involved in too.
- 13 oz. date paste
- ¾ C. almond butter
- 1 C. mini chocolate chips
- Mix all the ingredients together well and form into pingpong sized balls.
- Store in the refrigerator
I have found that with a little creativity and some organization it is possible to pack healthy, whole some lunches for your kids. Get them involved in the process and make it fun!
Share this with others moms looking to make packing lunches more fun and less a chore.
Best wishes for a great school year ahead!