How about starting fresh in the new year with wholesome packed lunches for your little ones? My #1 trick for packing real food school lunches – even on those nights when I am feeling tired and uninspired – is making lunch items in advance and freezing them. I would seriously never survive this chore otherwise. And let’s not forget the importance of starting to pack lunches (or at least having a plan) the day/night before school. Planning ahead is key when it comes to cutting out processed food!
So, since you guys liked my first post on this topic so much, here I am again with a new and updated list of items to make and freeze for school lunches! Be sure to check out the original post for info on how exactly to freeze and defrost soups, muffins, etc.
I’ve been on my soapbox recently about kids and snacks. And before I step off, I need to address one more issue: rewarding kids with junk food.
If you’re a parent, I’m guessing that you are familiar with this tactic. A child goes to dance (or insert sport here), and the child gets a piece of candy. A child gets a certain amount of stickers on their chart at school, and the child gets candy. Wait a minute – what? Why??
The other day on my Facebook page I said, “What is everyone handing out for Halloween this year? We’re doing our usual – glow sticks. I’d love to feature some of your new and creative (non-candy) ideas on the Charlotte Today show later this week!” And I got a barrage of comments, many of which simply answered the question, but also included some of the following…
“I’m sorry, but it’s Halloween and they’re children. We give out candy.”
“This crosses the line. Too much. It’s once a year!”
“If you don’t want to hand out candy, replace it with a healthy alternative treat. But substituting junk food with junky plastic crap isn’t much better in my opinion.”
First of all, I NEVER said my kids don’t get to eat candy on Halloween night. The problem is this: When some people hear that I hand out glow sticks instead of candy they make assumptions and then say (in the comments), “Oh give me a break Halloween is just once a year so let kids be kids!” But when you eat gobs of candy on Halloween night and then continue to eat the rest of the candy for weeks (or months) to come how is it still counted as “just one night?” I have no problem with my children OD’ing on whatever candy they want on Halloween night – and that’s actually what they do – with no limits or constraints from me. But then we actually live up to Halloween being “just one night” and get rid of what’s left (with the exception of maybe 5 or so pieces for “later”).
So my thought process is that children will still get PLENTY of candy on Halloween even if a few of us decide to hand out something different. Not to mention there are lots of FUN alternatives to candy (see below) that I doubt will deprive any child from just being a “kid.” Now, that’s just my two cents on the topic. I occasionally have a hard time when commenters criticize me for something I don’t even do (i.e. not let my kids trick or treat for candy) – so just had to vent about that for a moment. Continue Reading »
Here is another school lunch roundup post for you so you can get ideas all in one place! Also, we are working on a website redesign which will not only allow you to see ALL lunch pics at once, but it will also give you the chance to narrow by dietary need (i.e. dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, etc.) AND search by ingredient. So subscribe to my email list to be the first to know when this new feature is available!
To learn more about the lunches I pack here are some links…
My daughter was recently tasked with keeping a food journal for her science class. She really got into recording all her meals, and it made me realize this could be a good exercise for any elementary aged child—no matter what kind of diet they’re eating! If you feel like you’re constantly nagging your kid to “eat more veggies” and “stop asking me for Lunchables,” then a track record of how varied and healthy their diet really is might just be the wake up call they need.
I think it’s super important to not just tell your kids what foods to eat but to explain to them why they need to eat them. I know if my kids grow up eating their veggies only because mommy said so, it might not get us very far.
But I truly believe that most little ones want to do the right thing, so while arming them with the knowledge they need about eating right might not get them to wake up asking for spinach, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give it a chance! On that note, below are my daughter’s food journal samples as well as a (free) blank template if you’d like to try this at home! Please skip over the crazy spelling errors (something we’re working on around here!) and any miscounted grains, veggies, etc. Continue Reading »
The other day my 9-year-old was hungry for a snack, and after rummaging through the kitchen she said, “Mom, do we have any muffins anywhere?” That girl loves some muffins, and if she’s really hungry she’ll try to eat two in a row (or even three!) some days. So she was thrilled today when she came home from school and said, “What smells so good?” and I explained that it was a new muffin creation in the oven …Apple Walnut Muffins! With fall upon us and apples in season this is the perfect combination to snack on (or add to a school lunch) this time of year. I hope your little ones enjoy them as much as mine do!