It’s time once again we start thinking about what to pack in our kid’s lunches for school. In this post, I have highlighted some useful and healthy lunchbox solutions for back to school. If after reading, you have any information to share, please leave a comment.
Healthy Lunchbox Solutions for Back to School
First and foremost, it’s essential that we provide our kids with a healthy breakfast each day before school. It’s also imperative that we give our kids healthy options for their lunches. I’ve come across more than once that we need to offer more food in our kid’s lunchbox than they could eat and let them decide what they want. I always ask my son to send back what he doesn’t eat.
The below lunchbox checklist is something I picked up from my friends over at Nature Nate’s (the honey guy). They provide my family with honey and goodies from time to time, so I wanted to mention them in my post. This list will be beneficial when packing your kids’ lunches each day.
- Protein – Their growing bodies need this nutrient, but so do their tummies, so they feel full from their meals. Think past lunchmeat because of the additives they contain. Plant-based lunch proteins are great from a food safety standpoint. Try edamame, beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, or a bean burger. Hard boiled eggs and proteins from last night’s dinner are another options.
- Starch – The brain uses substantial amounts of carbohydrate for fuel, as does our child’s active bodies. Whole grain pasta, rice, farro, quinoa, corn, whole grain bread, tortillas, and crackers
are all healthful options.
- Vegetable – Whether raw or cooked, work with your child to select veggies for the week to increase the likelihood of consumption. When they feel they had some control of the meal, they’re excited to eat it!
- Fruit – Most kids enjoy fruit, and it provides energy and antioxidants to fuel their physical and mental development. They can choose if they eat it at snack time or lunch.
- Dairy, dairy alternative, nuts or seeds – Kids require more dietary fat than adults. Full-fat dairy or nut-based dairy alternatives provide this nutrient plus vitamins, minerals, and protein. Nuts or seeds can do the same, and you can sweeten yogurts and nut or seed butter with honey to increase the taste.
- Treat – When we don’t deprive kids of treats, they are more likely to enjoy them when they want them and less likely to overeat on sweets when they’re available. Homemade
honey-sweetened cookies, muffins, and energy bites are a fun option here.
– Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN via Nature’s Nate’s BTS Newsletter
Here’s the latest package I received for free from Nature Nate’s. Isn’t it sweet?
Choosing Healthy Food Containers
Now that you’ve got nutritious lunch ideas from above let’s talk about food containers and non-toxic lunch bags. There are numerous factors for parents to consider when selecting reusable food containers and lunch bags.
Here are some considerations to think about:
- What materials are safest? Plastic? Stainless steel?
- Can my child open her lunchbox?
- Do I need an insulated container?
- What about care and washing?
With news of toxins in plastics going mainstream over the past several years, many parents are already aware of the importance of selecting BPA-free containers.
I’m personally trying to go plastic-free, but I know many parents are not. So when shopping for plastic containers to use as sandwich boxes or snack containers, it’s important to look for a “BPA-free” and “Phthalate-free” labels on the packaging.
(I am a proud affiliate for Eco-Lunchbox)
For families that are going green and seeking to reduce their exposure to toxins in plastics as well as waste, stainless steel ECOlunchbox bentos are a great option. To learn more about the benefits of reducing dependence on plastics, check out educational information on their Website here: http://www.ecolunchboxes.com/why/
Stainless steel is plastic-free and therefore BPA-free, too. Other benefits to using stainless steel food containers are that they are non-leaching, won’t absorb odors or stains, and will keep food from getting squished! Check the packaging to make sure the stainless steel is food grade and free of lead.
ECOlunchbox specializes in the ultimate “FREE lunch” – free from all the bad stuff we don’t want in our lunches!
Too often parents select insulated and padded lunch carriers made from synthetic materials. At first, the carrier performs well, however, within a few months, the vinyl or plastic lining usually cracks, and mildew starts to grow and smell – making it hard to be cleaned thoroughly anymore. The same issues can occur with snack sacks, which are often cotton coated with plastics.
A great option to these lunch carriers is artisan cotton ECOlunchbags that are waste-free, plastic-free, lead-free, BPA-free, PVC-free, sweatshop-free, and vinyl-free.
So, there’s a couple of choices for parents. Will it be plastic, stainless steel, or lunch bags? The good news is that once your reusable lunch containers have been selected, over time it will result in considerable cost savings for your family. There you have it, healthy lunchbox solutions for back to school. What do you think?
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