BACK TO SCHOOL 2022! HEALTHY LUNCHES ON A BUDGET
- PLAN AHEAD
- HAVE A PRODUCTIVE CONVERSATION WITH THE KIDS
- BE A ROLE MODEL + READ LABELS
Start the school year off with a conversation! Focus meals on what they will eat instead of what they should eat and work towards making the healthiest choices with them
Parents want the healthiest meal possible and kids are dreaming about the chips and cookies for their lunch. Ask your kiddos to list their top 10-15 favorite foods and then work on a plan to move them toward some healthish options. If M+M yogurt is their choice, ask if you can throw in some strawberries+nuts into the yogurt too! Purchase the large containers of yogurt and add dried fruit+nuts+healthier cereals to save money. Consider buying bento box style lunch containers.
Here are some thoughts:
- Parents/adults need to be a role model.
- Work on how to read food labels. Focus on sugar, protein, fiber- and serving size.
- When reading the ingredient list-Consider not buying items with ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are.
- Encourage kids to help with the lunch process and work toward the goal of them doing it themselves
- Encourage a healthyish breakfast-oatmeal, avocado toast, smoothies, egg-veggie-cheese scramble
- Make extra dinner items at night to pack in the lunches for the next day
- Might be easiest to make lunches at night before the hectic morning comes
- Remember when shopping to purchase lunch items for the week
- Aim for balance-lean protein, healthy carb (fiber) and healthy fat.
Here are some tips to packing lunches healthier while being cost conscious:
- Choose whole grains when possible-whole wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, protein waffle, pita, whole wheat mini bagel, taco/burrito shell, and whole grain muffin
- Use less refined grains like white bread, pasta, rice and crackers.
- Add more Whole Foods like ANY fruits and veggies-eat the rainbow with lots of different colors. Remember frozen and canned items might be just as healthy as fresh and last longer.
- Use less processed foods like chips, cookies, and sweets.
- Select lean proteins- chicken, turkey, cheese sticks, yogurt or move toward plant based proteins like bean, nuts, nut butter, hummus, and edamame. (limit red+processed meats)
- Add healthy fat- avocado, nuts, and olive oil
- Encourage water+milk for drinks and limit soda and energy drinks.
- Make sure kids can open containers easily so they don’t need to ask for help
- Include spoon or fork if needed
- If you have time(silly concept)- make energy balls, healthy muffins, mini-muffin quiches, home made healthy trail mix to have available
- EWB loves peanut butter- but check with the school on their nut allergy policy
- A good water bottle is a smart purchase. One that doesn’t leak-maybe put it in a plastic bag.
- Include a very short love note or Hershey dark chocolate kiss to remind them of your love and support
Thank you. If you have any questions or I can help, please reach out and let me know. Wherever you are now, you can put a plan in place toward moving to a health self by starting now and making simple+easy changes. As our parents always said, you are what you eat.