1) Pack what you know your kids will eat. Seems very obvious, but in an effort to pack a healthy lunch, we often times pack a lunch they won’t even eat. Remember healthy lunches are only healthy if…the food is eaten. So packing that PB&J everyday it is ok! And the less food kids toss; the less they waste.
3) Include kids in lunch item shopping and preparation. Studies have shown when kids prepare meals they are more likely to eat them. Find a balance between what they may want and what you know they need. Of course, packing a lunch full of cookies and Cheetos is out of the question. Find a compromise; pack a sandwich, veggie wrap, or cheese and crackers along with the cookies.
4) Leftovers are wonderful! How can you and your family repurpose your leftovers? I will say this is easier in Elementary school. But I have been known to toss a leftover chicken leg in my middle schoolers lunch. Use leftover hamburger for nachos, pack a few chips, some grated cheese and cut up tomatoes and there you go! Kids can make their own nachos.
5) Stick to 3 key items. Over packing leads to tossing it all! 3 items seems offers choice and eating efficiency, which is very important when you need to get to the handball court!
6) Keep the environment in mind. Use recyclable products. Most schools are equipped with recycling bins. Better yet use a lunch box that will return home.
Good luck this year packing lunches! I would love to hear what has worked for you and what did not work so well.
Eat With Joy~
Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Owner of SNAC (simple, nourishing, affordable, cooking) pragmas and classes.