Back to school and back to the office can be stressful enough but packing lunches does not have to be this way! One way to make the morning run as smoothly as possible is to prepare beforehand.
Understanding the situation at your kids’ school can help plan your meals appropriate to the circumstances. For example:
- Is there still a cafeteria ?
- Is there a microwave to heat up the food?
- How far do your children walk to get to school? How much can they carry?
- Food restrictions due to classmates allergies? (peanut free lunch, some times shellfish free lunch, banana free lunch...)
- Are you children staying at home?
- frozen ready-to-eat meals can be helpful for you or your children to heat up easily
Have snacks ready to go whether it is individually packed snacks or home-prepared fruits and veggiesthat are ready to go.
- Buy prewashed veggies for easy packing (eg. spinach, kale, baby carrots) with the family’s favorite dip.
- A fruit and a protein dip, such as cashew or almond butter, pumpkin seed butter, hummus or unprocessed cheese, can help your children stay full, strong and healthy. They are also delicious and easy to pack!
- Individually packed protein such as Edamame beans and eggs, fish shaped fish balls.
- Especially with COVID pandemic and flu season coming, remember to pack a fork or spoon so that your children can limit hand-use microbial contamination.
- Buy premade snacks that are individually packed.
- Let your kids choose from a selection of snacks you picked out already the night before and let them put it in their lunchbox. This will empower them to take responsibility of their own meals and there’s higher chance they’ll eat the snacks.
- Beans beans beans – great source of iron, magnesium, vitamin Bs, calcium, protein and fibre.
- edamame beans, kidney beans, chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
- Check out snack recipe ideas on Health Family Project and on Cook Smart
Try this fun snack when the kids get home !
(Yogurt and nuts add protein to the cookies)
Prepare in advance and involve your family (You don’t have to do this alone!)
Packing lunches that the whole family likes can be challenging and time-consuming, do not be afraid to get everyone involved. Preparation beforehand will go a long way to help free up time to do what you really want to do – sit and spend valuable time with your family. One great lunch idea that is sure to get the whole family involved is making tasty sushi.
Have your kids choose the fruits and vegetable of the day for 1 week and find out what is in season can be extra tasty! See what’s in season this month!
Label your leftovers and identify either the date of when the food is made or the meal you are planning to eat. (This will help reduce wastage.)
Harvest what’s left of your garden
Utilize the most of the vegetables and fruits you have grown
(for example, left over basil leaves can be made into pesto sauce for a delicious pasta dish)
Organize your seasonings cabinet
You have more than you think and search up recipes using the seasonings you have.
Have fun with your leftovers!
Did you know that just 3 ingredients (1 ripened banana, 2 eggs, 1 tsp baking powder) can make pancakes enough to fill a breakfast of 4?
Do you need more ideas that is suited for your situation?
Connect to our Registered Dietitians to help plan your family meals today!