All of the sudden school is back and in full force. While there a million books and school supplies to worry about lunches should not be one of them. Here are some full proof lunch rules I follow to make a healthy lunch everyday for work that are easier then you think.
- Aim for 4-5 foods groups. Refer to MyPlate- just the graphic alone helps.
- Pay attention to portions. Having a separated lunch box or containers that are portion sized can be a huge help. There are tons on the market that skip the whole process of measuring and/or weighing food. I use the yumbox.
- Make it colorful. Try for at least 3 colors! Variety is important and foods with many colors are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are especially important foods that fight oxidative stress in our body.
- Have fun with the food. Play with shapes and sizes of foods. It can help to make old foods new again!
- Make the lunch/s the night before and take the stress out of your morning. In the morning making lunches can be hectic and it gives you more time to focus on making breakfast.
Here are some of my examples. I included vegetarian options too.
- The Classic Peanut Butter Sandwich I made the peanut butter sandwich fun again by making little sushi rolls and hit all five food groups. You can do this with any sandwich and kids might even want to make their own. The whole wheat bread is the grain, peanut butter is the protein, mozzarella cheese is the dairy, strawberries are the fruit, and carrots are the vegetable.
- The Chicken Salad Another minimal lunch where cutting up some vegetables and fruits I had on hand was the hardest part. The protein was chicken and chickpeas, vegetables was the romaine lettuce and radishes, the fruit was plums, and the dairy was strawberry yogurt. I used balsamic vinaigrette which is healthy fat to boot. There was no grain in this one but you could easily add a granola bar and call it a day.
- The Mediterranean Pita Kids love avocados and hummus. I have found a bunch of cool pita pockets at the store which are great for pizzas or hummus. The grain is the whole wheat pita, the vegetable is the avocado, romaine, and tomato, the fruit was the cantaloupe, and the protein was the plain hummus. There is no dairy but you could always pop in a cheese stick, milk, or yogurt.
- The Taco Bowl We made tacos the night before and then just cooked up some brown rice and cut up a peach and it was set. The grain was brown rice, the dairy was the cheese, the fruit was the peach, the meat was the ground hamburger, and the vegetables were the tomato and lettuce.
- Make Your Own Pizza Kids love making their own pizza! The whole wheat english muffin was the grain, the cheese was the dairy, the cucumbers, broccoli, and tomatoes were the vegetables. There is no protein or fruit in this one but you could easily add a handful of almonds and apple on the side.
Hopefully, this helps give you some ideas and helps make lunch making breeze. Feel free to share your favorite lunch box ideas below!