With back to school approaching, we got some great lunch packing ideas from our friend, local mom, Registered Dietitian, and proclaimed “pro-lunch-packer”, Caitlin Ogletree!
All good things must come to an end…summer is winding down and back to school is upon us! With this comes earlier bedtimes, homework, and packing lunches. For some, packing lunches is a dreaded daily task, while for others (like me), it is a fun and enjoyable nightly routine. So, how can you stress a little less about packing? Follow these tips for easy packing that will have your kiddos raving about their lunches!
1. Get a good lunch kit.
I personally love the bentgo boxes and have used them for both of my girls since they started solids. They allow you to pack a good amount of food, they seal well, and keep the foods separated. There are so many lunch kit options out there, find one that you and your kiddo like and get to work!
2. Be prepared.
As discussed in my last post, being prepared is the key to eliminating the stress and panic that can come along with having to pack a lunch. I have always packed the night before which helps out so much in the chaos of the morning. Often times, I’ll do a little of the prep work on the weekends just so the weeknights go smoothly. This might include hard boiling eggs, mixing up tuna salad, cleaning/cutting fruits and veggies, etc. The hour you spend on the weekend doing some prep work will save you valuable time and energy during the week.
As I make my weekly grocery list, I think about a few different options I can include for my kids lunches. We have a list of staples, but I try to think of a couple of new things each week to keep it interesting. This is where Pinterest or social media can also come in handy. There are a ton of lunchbox ideas out there! Grab a cup of coffee, curl up on the couch, and start planning!
So having been a “packer” for a few years now, I have a decent list of good options I know my kids will eat and enjoy, and hopefully your kiddos will too!
Tuna or Salmon Salad
1 can tuna or salmon
2 tbsp mayo (or more depending on how “wet” you like it)
1 small avocado
1 tsp everything but the bagel seasoning
½ cup chopped onion
Mix all the ingredients together and chill overnight. Serve with crackers or on a sandwich.
2 hard boiled eggs
1 tbsp sweet relish
2 tbsp mayo
Mix all ingredients together and chill overnight. Serve with crackers or on a sandwich.
Turkey and Cheese Roll Ups
2 Slices Turkey
2 cheese sticks
2 tbsp cream cheese (my kids like garden vegetable flavor, but any flavor will do)
Spread the cream cheese on one side of the turkey. Place cheese stick inside and roll it up.
Deli lunchmeat of choice- our favorites include turkey, ham and salami
Sliced cheese (cut into squares)
Crackers of choice (we like the sweet potato crackers and Everything crackers from TJ’s)
6 oz yogurt of your choice
1 tsp chia seeds
¼ cup fruit of your choice (blueberries, strawberries, bananas)
1 tsp ground flax seed
1 tsp rainbow sprinkles
Stir flax and chia into yogurt. Layer into lunch container, top with fruit and sprinkles.
Sunbutter and Jelly Rolls
2 tbsp sunbutter
1 tbsp jelly
Spread peanut butter and jelly on top of tortilla. Roll up and slice into bite size pieces.
Pasta Salad with Veggies
1 cup cooked bowtie pasta
¼ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup chopped cucumbers
¼ cup chopped bell peppers
¼ cup garbanzo beans
2 tbsp italian dressing
2 tbsp shredded cheese
Mix all ingredients together, and chill overnight. **Sub any other veggies or dressing you like**
Written by: Caitlin Ogletree, RD