By Melissa Uhles
My son is a third grader and old enough to start putting together his own lunches. Although, I admit, he’s so tired and busy with homework that I still do it for him most days. The plan is to eventually have him do it all by himself.
In order to make it easy for him, I made a cheat sheet. This is also a way to help teach him a little about mindful nutrition.
5 Easy Lunch Ideas
His sheet looks like this:
(1) Protein (cheese, nut-butter, nuts or ham)
(1) Grain (bread, crackers, tortilla, bagel or pita)
(1) Fruit or Vegetable (grapes, cutie, banana, squeezee applesauce, carrots, pickles or celery)
Every school is different, but my son has less than 20 minutes to eat, so although he would eat more if he had more time, I’ve come up with the right amount of food that he can actually finish in that time. You may have to experiment with your kiddo and ask them if you packed too much or not enough.
If your child is allowed a morning snack at school, you could throw in a treat, like a fruit strip or cookie.
Because I’m too lazy to go full bento box style, I came up with a list of lunches that are fast, easy and fairly nutritious.
Here’s a sample of my weekly plan:
Blueberry bagel, cutie, and a handful of nuts
Hummus, pita and grapes
Ham and cheese tortilla roll-up and squeezee applesauce
Classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread with baby carrots
String cheese, crackers and a banana
In addition to this list, on rare occasion I’ll buy him a lunchable because he loves those after his Grandma bought him one once, but I’ll usually make my own version with crackers, meat and cheese at home. I’m a nerd that likes to buy nitrate free lunch meats. Another thing I do is give him leftover spaghetti or chow mein noodles sometimes. He doesn’t have access to a microwave but by the time he eats it, it’s become room temperature.
Yummo, am I right?
Here are some healthy drinks you can pack with your kid’s lunch: My son likes low sodium V8 juice. Milk and water are good choices too. Once in a blue moon I’ll give him a Capri Sun as a treat.
A final note about Go-gurt, they are popular and convenient but rumor has it young kids can’t get them open on their own and if they do it can make a big sour mess. So when I buy these, I keep them at home for an after school snack.
What do you pack for your kid? We’d love to hear about your lunch ideas in the comments.
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