With school back in session packing a nutritious lunch is more important than ever. Sure it’s easy to go with the pre-packaged foods (& I am definitely guilty of this), but packing a nutritious lunch can be quick, easy & most of all healthy. Fruit, yogurt, vegetables, & cheese are all easy essentials than make up a nutritious lunch. Today Christy, of Belly Sprout, is sharing her thoughts & tips on creating a fabulous school lunch.
Last year when my oldest son started school, I was elated at the ideas I had for his lunchbox. As a substitute teacher for 4 years before my children were born, I was mortified at what kids (and faculty!) were eating. I used my time on the various campuses as an opportunity to educate the kids on the why’s and how’s of eating healthful. This was years before I had even heard of Jamie Oliver so you can imagine how grateful I was when The Food Revolution aired. The kids were receptive and open to the information I was sharing with them and even a few of the faculty began to adopt some very simple steps to eating better. I was thrilled when the kids came up to me (dubbed veggie or yoga lady) and telling me how they were getting their parents to buy organic, more veggies and even one girl who decided to give a more vegetarian diet a try. One of the most rewarding stories was of a high school boy who looked for me on campus to tell me that he was now only drinking water. In my class this boy lined up his soda cans and went on to tell me how he drinks one soda per period. I told him the dangers of doing this and that he should try to consider drinking water. Apparently he had a visit with his doctor who made him replace sodas for water because he was having some serious digestive/stomach issues.
Most parents get excited to send their kids to school for a variety of reasons. I was excited to see what I could put in Mayu’s lunchbox. I began thinking of our family’s diet and how I could adopt these foods into a lunchbox. Mayu is a phenomenal eater and will eat the fruits and vegetables before the starches and proteins so it was a pleasure to plan for him. I started drafting meal ideas for the week so that I didn’t repeat the meals, kept things fresh and whole, while looking for snacks that would make Mayu feel like the rest of his classmates. I also involved Mayu with the lunch planning by letting him know what I was planning and if he had any other suggestions.
With the amount of research on health and wellness that I have done in the last 15 years, I can confidently say that our health is greatly related to the foods we put into our bodies. This is backed by all of the reports and studies on childhood diseases and illness which are being directly linked to what we are consuming as a nation. I feel strongly that we need to make some type of effort when packing our lunches for our children to protect them from these potential diseases. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman in the first 7 years of a child’s life, we as parents have the ability to set their bodies up for disease or for healthy futures. That is pretty powerful information and something we need to take into account when we buy and prepare the foods our families consume.
I want to take the guesswork out of what to pack in a school lunch and show you quick easy steps to provide maximum nutrition for your children. You don’t have to already be eating a healthful diet at home, which of course helps, so I am providing the baby steps into becoming more aware of what we eat. You needn’t be extreme, but just be mindful. It is ineffective if you begin to experiment with some outrageous healthful ideas but your child won’t eat. Understand your child, your lifestyle and what you can afford to do.
Packing a Nutritious Lunch
Involve your child to come up with a list of things they like and focus on the healthiest options.
- Explain why you are focusing on what they eat so that your child understands the wonderful benefits of eating healthful foods.
- Pick out some great re-usable lunch gear items, so that your child is excited to take their lunchbox/bag to school. Try and keep a variety of containers so that you are able to mix it up and offer a variety of choices during the week. Ditch the plastics and opt for stainless steel. It is counter-productive to store a healthful lunch in plastic which leaches harmful toxins, even the BPA free versions are no longer considered safe-proof.
- Take a look at what types of meals you eat for dinner and how those leftovers can go into the lunchbox without sacrificing flavor or quality. I loved preparing our family dinners and setting aside portions for Mayu’s lunchbox.
- Pack the lunch the night before so that you aren’t rushed in the morning and just throwing anything you can find into your child’s lunch.
- When making a shopping list keep these things in mind:
-whole, fresh and organic as much as possible
-think real foods for the bulk of the lunch and packaged snacks as small treats
-pack a grain, a protein, a vegetable and a fruit
-send water or something like coconut water instead of juices or soda
You can view photos of Mayu’s lunch box on my FB page to get some ideas of what to pack. I will also be teaching a class this month:
September 28 th Mayu’s Lunchbox
10-11a.m., JUST SPOTTED READERS SPECIAL IS $7! (normally $15)(Includes syllabus and fresh squeezed organic carrot juice)
Not sure what to pack in your child’s lunch that they will actually eat while providing maximum nutrition? In this workshop veteran mom and healthful food lover, Christy Funk, will show you easy ways to prepare a delicious and healthful reusable lunch box your kids will love! There will be a focus on meal preparation and planning using re-usable lunch gear.
Thanks Christy! I Love how you make living healthy so easy. After reading your post, & oggling your amazing pictures, I wish you would pack MY lunch everyday!
images of packing a nutritious lunch via Belly Sprout