I am constantly at a loss for what to pack when we go to the park or have play dates! So I found a great site, The Gracious Pantry. She posted an entire post on packing school lunches. If we want to end the trend of obesity we have to start with our children. Start teaching them about proper nutrition and stopping them dead in their tracks before it gets out of hand!!! They are young and they will adjust. Heck, if they are really young then they will never even know the difference.
The Main Trick
Kids, even the older ones, like to eat small things. Younger kids can get overwhelmed when they see a normal, adult sized sandwich in their lunchbox. Making things smaller makes them more fun to eat too. So think “small” when you pack lunches. Even if you make a big sandwich, try cutting it up into little squares. Cut large fruits into small pieces. Break protein bars in half or quarters. But however you cut it, break it or tear it, think small. In fact, you could pack a whole lunch with “snacks” (tiny pieces) of just about anything clean and healthy.
Also, if your kids pack their own lunches, don’t breathe down their necks trying to get them to pack healthy foods. All you have to do is make healthy foods the only foods that are available to them. That way, they still feel the control of choosing what they take for lunch, and you feel good because you know they are choosing from healthy options. It’s a win-win.
Quick Breakfast Ideas:
- Burrito wraps with last nights leftovers
- A mix of low-fat cottage cheese and clean yogurt
- Cottage cheese and fruit with nuts and seeds
- Toast with clean nut butter such as Smuckers all natural peanut butter (only ingredient is dry roasted peanuts).
- Rice crackers with cheese or clean nut butter
- Kasha Oatmeal
- Quesadilla (made in the micro-wave)
- Scrambled eggs (add some beans too!)
- Clean Eating Granola (Make on the weekend, enjoy during the week!)
- Clean, low calorie breakfast sandwich- you can add in some turkey bacon and some low fat shredded cheese for the kids. Even adding in a few yolks for them!!! These are so easy to grab and go on the way out the door.
- Clean Eating Yogurt- plain greek yogurt with frozen or fresh berries and drizzle of honey or agave nectar.
- Raw veggies with clean eating ranch dip- ranch seasoning mixed with greek yogurt.
- Edamame beans
- Clean eating crackers – Yes, they do exist. But it takes some searching.
- Clean eating granola bars
- Dried fruit such as craisins, blueberries, cherries, raisins
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cheese chunks
- DIY Granola
- Greek yogurt blended with any fruit of choice
- Pita pocket sandwiches stuffed with things your kids like and you’re comfy with
- Cheese sticks
- Whole wheat pretzels
- Mandarin oranges
- Cucumber slices
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (clean jelly please I use Smuckers Natural – and make sure your school doesn’t have an anti-peanut rule)
- Fruit salad
- Chicken Salad Sandwich
- Macaroni salad
- Rice salad
- Quinoa salad
- Whole wheat couscous salad
- Whole wheat tortilla wraps
- Clean Eating Wedding Soup
- Whole wheat or sprouted wheat bagels (cream cheese is usually okay for kids unless they are overweight. It’s clean, and under normal circumstances, they will burn off the calories just being kids. Especially if they have a bunch of other healthy options in their lunch box)
- Pizza – if you have a clean pizza dough already in the freezer. Just top and bake.
- Pre-made casseroles out of the freezer (make them on the weekend)
- Sandwiches (real meats please)
- Cheese and tomato sandwiches (toast the bread then melt the cheese in the microwave, then add tomatoes.)
- Crock Pot Mexican Dinner
- Pita pizzas
- Quiché – Yes, it’s quick to make!
- Chicken Bake
Many parents complain about their kids eating processed and “un-clean” foods. But here’s the thing. Most food items have healthy alternatives. Take yogurt for example. You can buy the cruddy stuff with all sorts of chemicals, artificial sweeteners and fake flavors, or you can buy a clean yogurt that tastes just as good and is actually healthy for them. It may take a little leg work on your part to find these things, but once you do, you’re set. And generally speaking, they won’t notice much of a difference. So take the time to find the healthy versions of the processed foods they eat now. You’ll feel so much better about packing their lunches!
Article in part by The Gracious Pantry, the most awesome clean eating blog I have ever read!!!