Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Healthy Snack & Lunch Ideas for Kids

I'm definitely not an expert when it comes to nutrition, but I do feel educated and informed enough to know that packing a bologna sandwich, cheetos, twinkies & squeeze-it doesn't constitute as a healthy lunch. Kids need lots of good, nutritious food to fill their bellies and help them grow and develop. Their brains and bodies are growing at a rapid rate and I feel like its so important to make sure you do your part to ensure that they are properly fed to ensure adequate nutrition.  If you want them to perform their best at school, you need to fuel them with the right kinds of food! With childhood obesity so prevalent, its also important you watch and monitor exactly what goes into your childs mouth.  I know its easy to throw them a bag of fruit snacks or a handful of cookies- trust me, I'm guilty of that too. But its my goal that 95% of the food my kids eat is clean, unprocessed and "real". 

I've seen a lot of "Bento Box" lunches floating around Pinterest and I have to say I love, love, love the idea. My Type A brain loves organization and compartmentalizing and so this is perfect :) I might just have to research them a little more and order a couple :) I found this one at Pottery Barn that looks perfect. If you haven't seen them, its basically a lunch box (or tupperware) that is separated into different sections. You put the main course in the biggest (sandwich) and the "side dishes" (fruits, veggies, yogurt, etc) in the smaller sections. I have seen SO many creative ideas that I want to try!

But for now, here is a list of my go-to lunches that I pack for the boys. Almost everyday, their lunch boxes come home empty. And luckily, they are still too young to learn the "trade with a friend" or "throw away so mom won't know" trick! :) I'm sure that will come soon enough!

Main Dishes:
-Whole grain uncrustables or PB&J on whole wheat bread. 
-Turkey & cheese sandwich on whole wheat 
-whole wheat tortilla, spread with fat free cream cheese, with layers of cucumbers and chopped up chicken (usually leftover from dinner)
-String cheese wrapped in lunch meat
-Refried black bean burrito in a whole wheat tortilla
-a mixture of romaine & spinach with 2 or 3 chicken nuggets cut up, along with a chopped hardboiled egg, dressing on the side so it doesn't get soggy
-homemade bagel bites (use mini whole wheat bagels, spoon of sauce, and melt cheese on top. i wrap them in foil and they usually stay ok/not soggy)


Sides:
-Baby carrots mixed with grape tomatoes
-Any kind of berry mixture (their favorite is blueberries & strawberries or blackberries & kiwi)
-Grapes, Mandarin oranges "cuties", apple slices, bananas, 
-Yogurt (sometimes I drizzle honey or add granola or chopped nuts)
-Sting cheese
-Granola bars (watch the sugar!)
-celery spread with peanut butter and raisins
-whole wheat crackers with Tzatziki to dip them in(its a greek yogurt cucumber sauce, we buy ours at Costco and it is heavenly!)
-applesauce
-trail mix (they like a mix of cashews, raisins, cheerios and m&m's)
-air popped popcorn or pirates booty
-organic fruit leathers

Now- these are just what WE pack for our kids. Not what you have to do. I was just giving ideas for those who feel like they are in a rut :) I try and change it up at least a little everyday so they don't get bored. They definitely have their favorites so I usually do those things most often. Oh, and I don't pack them 2 separate lunches...they both get the same thing. I also pack my husband's lunch, but he gets an alternate "big kid" menu haha. The little boys are always anxious to look in their lunchbox on the way to school each morning to see they can look forward too :) Its really actually kind of fun for me to pack their lunches.

Ok, now that I've given my 10 cents, here are a few websites that I've found and really like. Lots of good, creative ideas!






Happy packing! 

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