It’s that time of the year where notebooks, pencils, and backpacks are filling up the aisles at the store. Yes, I’m talking about back to school season.
With the kids’ schedules growing busier, they’re going to need lunches packed with healthy, nourishing ingredients. Lunches filled with real food will keep your kiddos feeling full and satisfied all day long.
Try some of these healthy ingredients in your child’s lunch box this season:
100% Whole Wheat or Sprouted Bread
The good ol’ school lunch stand-by: sandwiches. They’re easy to pack, simple to make, and totally filling; however, they can be full of empty calories and unnecessary sugar due to the type of bread you choose.
100% whole wheat bread should only have a handful of ingredients, the first of which should be 100% whole grain wheat flour. “100% Whole grain” means that you’re getting the whole wheat kernel in your bread, rather than a bunch of chemically-altered and refined flours. Sprouted bread uses whole grains as well, but it takes it one step further by soaking the grains in water so they sprout. This eases the digestion process and produces a low GI bread.
Recipes to try: Make Ahead Freezer Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwiches from Must Have Mom and Ezekiel Bread Breakfast Sandwich from Food for Life
You know the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” When the wee ones are headed back to school, they’re susceptible to many germs and viruses, so packing a juicy apple in their lunches may not be a bad idea.
Apples are filled with antioxidants and vitamin C that can help your little ones stay happy and healthy throughout the school year. And, due to their natural sweetness, apples are the perfect addition to healthier baked goods.
Recipes to try: Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins from Sally’s Baking Addiction and Apple Cinnamon Peanut Butter from Oh She Glows
These healthy fat and fiber-filled seeds aren’t just for the health junkies! Chia seeds will keep your kid’s hunger at bay all while serving an impressive amount of protein and calcium per serving.
There are so many ways you can whip up a chia seed-packed treat that your kids will love. Make a homemade jam for a from-scratch PB&J or make a pudding full of fruits and non-dairy milk.
Recipes to try: Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding from Fit Foodie Finds and Chia Seed Jam from A Saucy Kitchen
Oats stabilize blood sugar and are full of fiber, so including some oats in your child’s lunch would be both nutritious and delicious.
Try making some homemade granola and sprinkle it over some low-sugar yogurt. Even better? Make some overnight oats and pack them full of nut butter and fruit for a nourishing all-in-one lunch treat!
Recipes to try: Paleo Granola from The Cafe Sucre Farine and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats from Minimalist Baker
The natural pairing to tacos, burrito bowls, and all-things Mexican, guacamole is a perfect way to pack in many different nutrients to your kid’s school lunch. While avocados are full of healthy fats, adding different fruits and vegetables can really make guac shine.
Guacamole is traditionally served with tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice, but there are so many ways you can jazz up this green dip. Try adding fruits like strawberries or pineapples for a sweeter take, or add other vegetables for a fun and exciting twist on the classic!
Recipes to try: Simple Mango Guacamole from Sally’s Baking Addiction and Pineapple Guacamole from Gimme Some Oven
Roasted or Grilled Vegetables
Struggling to get your kid to eat his or her veggies? Don’t send them to school with raw carrot sticks and broccoli florets! Instead, throw them in the oven or on the grill with some olive oil, salt, and pepper for a truly delicious vegetable experience.
When roasted or grilled, vegetables caramelize and become much sweeter than their raw counterparts, making them much more appealing to kids. And you want to know the best part? You can roast or grill a large batch of vegetables on the weekend and store them in the fridge so they’re ready to throw into lunch boxes all week long.
Recipes to try: Marinated Grilled Vegetables with Avocado Whipped Feta from How Sweet It Is and Easy Roasted Vegetables from Damn Delicious
What’s your child’s favorite school lunch meal? Would you try any of these healthy ingredients in your kid’s lunch?