Easy & Healthy School Lunches

It’s already that time of year. The store aisles are stocked with all kinds of “must have goodies” to make your child’s lunch complete. Though Math class hasn’t even started yet, you’ll need to get that calculator to see what you’re paying “per package”, then total all those packages up to see what lunch is really going to cost. Next, grab your dictionary to find out what is in each package that allows it to stay on your shelf until graduation! Then, most likely you’ll need to find a recycling program to take all the special containers your school is generating. Hopefully they will give you cash back, or exercise equipment.

This is NOT the smart way to fill your child's lunch sack.

Frugal moms unite! You CAN produce some excellent school lunches without having to take out a loan. Here are 5 easy ways to make sure your child’s lunch is healthy which is really very smart.


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#1 – Healthy Protein

Meats that are close to their original form, and have as little preservatives as possible are great choices (think chicken breast that you’ve cooked). My mother would serve roast & meatloaf sandwiches. Natural cheeses (they hang up or are in blocks normally) are great and cheese sticks are good too. Nuts and nut butters. Egg salad and even hard-boiled eggs.

#2-Healthy Carbohydrates

Carbs are NOT bad words. They do need to be whole grain if possible, as they will release energy more steadily and provide fiber. There are so many options, pitas, wraps, tortillas, buns, breads.


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#3-Something Raw

Providing something raw, such as carrots, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, celery, whatever YOUR child will eat. This is a handy place to put in a dip made from healthy things. Raw food provides a lot of nutrient density for the calories, plus, it gives enzymes to help digest what your child is eating. The snack bags won’t rot, but your fresh fruits and veggies will! You can prepare several containers of these at the first of the week.

#4-Drink

You definitely want to have your child well hydrated during the day. Water is a great choice as is 100% fruit juice (read the back of the carton). Milk, if available in the lunchroom, is also a healthy option. Do remember that juice will be providing a good bit of sugar so limit your child’s intake. Eating a piece of fruit and drinking fruit juice are not the same thing.


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#5-Treat

Most children think it is NOT lunch unless there is a yummy treat in the box. You can take this opportunity to be a cookie cutter or creative. Lots of treats abound, and lots of moms and children enjoy making their own treats. Choose wisely and it will compliment your great lunch!

A Few Final Tips

  • When sending cold items, do keep them cold. A frozen drink will sometimes do the job, or small ice pack. You also have a huge choice in insulated bags available to make this possible.
  • If your child is committed to eating breakfast and lunch at school, look for ways to encourage them to take advantage of the blessing! Do consider the lag time from getting up till they get to eat. You may need to provide some fruit or 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich to keep their blood sugar up till they are fed.
  • As you prepare for a new school year, remember you are feeding bodies, while their minds are being fed. Each day is a whole new world to your children. Take the time to enjoy that with them!
As you can see, your lunch may or may not take on the form of the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of chips, a juice drink and a snack cake. You could have chicken salad pita, carrots & celery, juice box and a homemade whole wheat chocolate muffin. Another day you might have a dipping lunch – apples and peanut butter, baked chips and guacamole, water & a homemade cookie. Each day will look different for your child, or each day may look VERY similiar! Be creative and enjoy!