Easy School Lunches
Here are some very simple ideas for easy school lunches that will help to save you money without turning every morning into a complicated lunch-making session.
The cost of school lunch keeps going up, and there is more reason than ever to send your kids to school with a lunch packed at home. If it's not the cost, the nutrition is also of concern. Follow this simple approach to be sure you have an easy school lunch that is nutritious as well.
Something to Drink
Every kid needs something to drink for lunch, and you basically have three options; send something from home, have a kid buy something at school, or let them pick up a school milk.
If you're going for simple, choose water from home. Get a nice stainless steel or nalgene BPS-free water bottle and make it at home. You can even find covers that will help to keep the water cool for a while if that is important.
By sending water from home, you can avoid the cost and unhealthy side effects of juice or soda that might otherwise be your child's drink of choice, and it's free!
Protein is an important part of a healthy school lunch because it helps keep a kid feeling full longer, which means that they are less likely to hit a sugary snack in the early afternoon.
Lean meats are a good choice. You can certainly include protein in a sandwich using protein-rich foods like lean turkey or even natural peanut butter. Nuts or eggs will do the trick as well.
Don't think that turkey requires bread. A simple concoction of turkey and cheese is a great option for a kid to feel full without the added bread.
Kids don't get enough fiber. That is not an absolute fact for every kid, of course, but true for most. Make school lunches an opportunity to get some fiber into the diet. One of the best ways to do this is with fruit.
When it comes to packing school lunches, it's hard to beat fruit. Find out what your child likes best and get them on a rotation. In general, a single piece of fruit may contain 3 or so grams of fiber each, so be sure to always have bananas, apples, pears, nectarines, grapes, or whatever your child will eat around.
Not only is fruit a healthy school lunch choice, it is very easy to pack in the morning without great effort.
Let's face it kids like something sweet, but that does not have to mean a cupcake or cookie. Try some quality dried fruit for a change. Kids love dried fruit, especially cranberries, pineapple, mango, or apples.
To mix it up a bit, add a few natural almonds or peanuts to the mix, and increase the protein and fiber at the same time.
The great thing about a side of dried fruit and nuts is that it is easy to make, even the night before, requires no cold pack, and travels well. In fact, just send any leftovers back the next day. Simple.
Sometimes kids just need something to snack on, but things like potato chips are not a great choice. Instead, consider snacks that are a bit less greasy like pretzels, animal crackers, or popcorn. All of these will cut the calorie and fat content while still providing a kids with that snack experience.
School Lunches Made Simple
You don't have to spend 15 minutes in the morning preparing a school lunch. By making a dried fruit and nuts packet and/or snack item the night before and throwing that in a lunch box with a water bottle, piece of fruit, and making a quick sandwich or other protein-rich choice, you can send your little one to school with a mean that is filling, easy, and inexpensive. Unless you use the national school lunch program, you can save real money packing your own lunch.
These ideas for school lunches should get you started. Find out what your child likes and keep it on hand so you can make lunch fast and send some of these easy school lunches along every day.