Dreading back to school? Your guide to packing healthy kid friendly lunches

By Yvonne Smith

September brings an air of excitement as a new school year presents time for growth, new friends and experiences.  While kids may have a “slightly” different perspective on the situation, back-to-school is a ritual that young and old remember fondly.

Of course, back-to-school also means back-to-school lunches and the question “What to pack for lunch today?” which can be the source of daily frustration for many parents. Even with the best intentions, sending kids to school with healthy meals that they will actually eat can still be a challenge. 

Below are some great lunch tips that will ensure that your child’s lunchbox comes home empty (and actually eaten!)

(1)  Hold the Juice

Keeping kids hydrated is an essential part of keeping them alert & energized.  However, juice boxes (even 100% pure juice) add a lot of unnecessary sugar. This amount of simple sugars can cause blood sugar crashes later in the day. Water is a much better idea and by adding lemon, berries or a cube of frozen pineapple it will add interest and a bit of flavour. 

 

(2)  Make a plan

Setting up a rotating weekly lunch schedule & planning in advance can make your life as a parent much easier. 

  • Cook extra food on weeknights (chicken, homemade pizza, pasta, meatballs) and add it to the lunchbox the next day or freeze for future meals. 
  • Cut-up & divide extra veggies/fruits/granola in advance so it makes putting a lunch together a snap. 
  • Theme days (Mexican Mondays!) allow for creativity but also help you keep it interesting from day to day.

 

(3)  Less is more

In my earlier days of lunchbox packing, I would pack an abundance of snacks ‘just in case’ my kids got hungry during the day.  It took me a while to realize that the more I packed, the more would come home and go to waste.   Learn from what you see coming back at the end of the day and scale back the size of the lunch (appropriate to the age & hunger of your child), to ensure that what you have packed will be eaten.

 

(4)  Simplify

Have you ever searched ‘kids lunches’ on Pinterest?  It can be both an inspiring and intimidating experience.  All the power to those with Pinterest panache but sometimes you just need to get the lunch in the box and out the door.  As long as food is fresh and appealing, simple is just fine. Don’t worry about spending hours making complex recipes!

Whether you’re a lunch-box making beginner or veteran, by remembering these simple tips, we hope your lunch-making mornings will be smooth and stress-free.