School is back in session! Or probably will be soon, depending on where you live. Some of you might be wondering what to pack for lunch – either for you or your child. I would encourage you to use the balanced meal template as a guide, and let your kids help you! I am going to list several options for each component of the balanced meal and then you can let your kids pick and choose from each section as they make their own lunch.
Bread for a sandwich (ideally whole grain!)
Whole grain crackers or pretzels or chips
Tortilla (cheese quesadilla, turkey roll up, wrap, etc)
Leftover pancakes or waffles
Rice or pasta
Whole grain cereal
Leftover chicken, beef, turkey, etc.
Dressings (a little ranch might help the vegetables go down!)
Oils, butter, sauces, etc.
Fruit or Vegetable:
Apple (can be these pre sliced!)
Smoothie (freeze and then take out in the morning, will be thawed by lunch)
Carrots/celery/bell pepper, etc (with dip or PB or hummus, etc)
Applesauce (can buy these in the easy pack containers)
100% juice box
Some sample lunches:
PB & J sandwich with banana and milk
Turkey wrap with apple slices and cheese
Cheese, crackers, celery and peanut butter
Cottage cheese with pita bread and fruit leather
Beans and rice with veggies and salsa and milk
Cheese quesadilla with carrots and ranch
English muffin Pizza with smoothie
Pasta with marinara and chicken (or ground beef) with an orange
Chips and salsa, turkey/cheese rollups with bell peppers
Yogurt parfait with fruit and granola
Cereal + milk and fruit and nuts
I mean, the options are endless! I think its good to let the kids choose their own adventureas you provide a flexible structure for them. I hope this is helpful in decreasing any packed lunch stress!
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD