Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Healthy School Lunches for Kids

Good morning!  I am back today with another guest post! I asked a Erin, a friend of mine who blogs at Healthy Branscoms, to write a guest post about healthy school lunches.  I met her through blogging a while ago and have seen her change her life since then.  She is constantly making healthier choices for her family and is always on that quest to find healthy changes that work for her lifestyle.
This is what she wrote…
Hello! :) I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! :) I wrote THIS article last year and… WOW… has our thinking of packing healthy school lunches really changed and improved! :)
I wrote about how we bought our lap top lunch boxes this summer HERE. And so far we have not missed one day of packing lunches!
Last year I was so inconsistent about it. I made excuses, it was too much work to pack them every day, maybe cost too much to buy all that food, I felt I had to buy "special" pre-packaged foods, etc.
WOW!   My thought process has really changed! :)
I am ALWAYS looking for ways to mix up the kids lunches, make it fun, fresh, healthy and get them to try and experience new foods.
I hope you can get some ideas from my post! :)
I usually just dig through my pantry and fridge and try to make it fun and fresh!

First of all, I want to apologize for some of my poor quality of pictures! I have been playing around with different settings on my camera lately AND I took a lot of these while in a hurry while I was cooking dinner, packing lunches and getting ready for work. :)
One thing I LOVE and is a total MUST for me is that the laptop lunch boxes are BPA free! I don't have much plastic in our house anymore and this year we have switched to mostly glass pyrex. I also ended up buying 2 extra lunch boxes HERE which I am SO glad I did! It is nice to have 4 of them, so we can rotate them out, plus if the boys forget their bag at school, we have backup! It has happened a few times! ;o)

On this day the boys had: turkey sticks from Aldi's, a cheese stick, a cliff fruit stick (tucked in the spoon area), fresh grape tomatoes from a farmer stand, a peach from the same farm stand, and fresh zucchini bread.

Like I said, sorry about the quality of the pictures! :( Some days this Momma was just in a hurry, but I love to document these! :)
I took whole wheat wraps and wrapped turkey, spinach leaves, and cheese up and put a toothpick in it to hold it all together, fresh watermelon, carrot sticks, Chobani vanilla greek yogurt, and blueberry granola to mix in the yogurt. I am SO impressed that my kids love this yogurt! If we hadn't been doing the laptop lunch boxes, they might not be trying new things and eating as fresh! :)

This was kind of a hurried day and some days are always super healthy but I try my best! :)
I had some pretzel bread that our local grocery store makes that is super yummy, nacho cheese to dip it in, cucumbers, carrots, applesauce, and a cliff fruit strip. (I buy cliff bars and fruit strips from sam's in bulk and its a pretty good deal)

This day the boys thought it was super fun! I made organic blueberry mini waffles, sugar free syrup, fresh grapes, dried bananas, apricots, and prunes, chobani vanilla yogurt (I buy the big tubs), and blueberry granola.

I love to put new things in there and I may "know" in the back of my head that it may not be their favorite or they "may" not like it, but you never know until you try it and if they are hungry enough at lunch, they will eat it! ha! And I think statistics say that you have to introduce a food to a child 20 times before they like it. :) I made some tuna salad, put in some ritz crackers, a cheese stick, cottage cheese, grapes, and a cliff fruit strip. Sometimes they come home and declare that they LOVED their lunch and sometimes they say they didn't like something. And that is okay! :) It is fun to try new things!
Did you know that we added up the costs and for us it is about $1000 a year for school lunches?
I KNOW we are not spending NEAR that amount by packing them ourselves. Half the time we are using leftovers or fresh fruit, or baked goods that I made for pennies on the dollar. SO cheap and so much healthier! I KNOW what is going in my baby's bellies! :)
If you are looking for lunch ideas, I really like this flicker group pool HERE. There are over 9,000 ideas for laptop lunches! :) Even if you don't have a laptop lunch box, you can get ideas for your style of lunch box!
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Thank you Erin for this very helpful post!
Please leave Erin a comment and follow this gal! Smile
What do you think of school lunches vs. packing lunches from home?
Do you pack lunches or buy hot lunches?
Do you have any great ideas?
Have a great day!
Bonnie :0


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