Last week my high school freshman started school and -of course- on the first day he forgot his lunch (argh). I personally struggle with kid lunches...it's not just them forgetting it, if they're eating it (I HATE when I hear they threw something away) but it's mainly the actual TAKING it. Our schools don't have lockers so these little kids have to carry around everything so a bulky lunch pail is too much. We have been using paper bags (and I KNOW my 14yr old loved that heart I drew on there LOL) but I just bought my daughter awesome bento boxes. You can find them at Amazon but we got ours at an oriental-style store at Southcenter Mall. VERY Claire in The Breakfast Club ;)
Another thing I struggle with is what they're putting into their stomachs. My older kids eat ANYTHING but my 6yr old is very picky. With him going to school full time now, we worry about him eating what he should so when I was asked to write an article for Buckley's local newsletter* from our Chamber about school lunches, I realized I needed a little help! I spoke with Susie Bennett- Personal Trainer at a local gym about ways we could get him some nutrition and help ease his anxiety about what he's going to eat.
With insulated lunch bags, she says, packing fresh and healthy lunches is easy! GET THEM INVOLVED to teach nutrition and what their growing bodies need. “Eat The Rainbow”: carrots, cucumbers, blueberries, red peppers/cherry tomatoes, bananas, etc. When shopping, ask the Produce Manager if they’ll let them taste a new food…kids may be pleasantly surprised!
With that in mind, there’s nothing wrong with ol’ fashion PB&J (low sugar and whole wheat) but also try: tuna and chopped cucumber in a pita pocket, or low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks rolled up with “lightly processed” turkey or chicken lunch meat adding a lettuce leaf, thinly sliced red pepper, cucumbers or pickles (these are fun to make!). Pre-grilled chicken strips are great cold! Serve plain or use low-sugar dip like honey mustard. Ak-Mak Crackers are probably the “cleanest” crackers on the market so make an Ak-Mak “Sandwich” with cheese slices, hummus, sliced hard-boiled egg, or Laughing Cow Cheese.
If they MUST have chips, Trader Joe’s makes tasty “veggie-chips”! Then add fruit, veggie slices, and GORP (baggie of nuts, seeds, and raisins). Yogurt is OK, but watch the sugar content! For drinks, pop and juices are loaded with sugars, dyes, etc so nature’s best beverage should be the drink of choice - WATER! Susie adds the main goal is eat “real” food and READ LABELS! Pay attention to the amount of ingredients you don’t recognize. Remember, YOU are responsible for your child’s health. They may complain at first, but you KNOW you’re doing the right thing.
Thank you Susie for all your advice! We are heading to the store today to get my picky eater excited about his lunches :) See all that The Hungry Housewives have going on over at their Blog at http//:www.thehungyhousewives.com
*The Buckley Newletter is delivered locally for free but extra copies are available at Diane's Mailroom and restaurants along Main Street.