Making a nutritious school lunch every day can seem like a daunting task, but the reality is that when you have a pantry and fridge stocked with nutritious foods, the whole process can go rather quickly. Whether you pack the night before, or in the morning while the kids are getting ready for school, here are 5 tips to get lunches packed in no time.
1. Grab your lunchbox and ingredients
I like to create an “assembly line” of sorts on my kitchen counter. Lining up my EasyLunchboxes and the ingredients I need minimizes repeat trips to the fridge and pantry and makes the process go faster.
2. Pick a protein
Adding a little protein to your child’s lunchbox is an easy way to keep them satisfied through the afternoon – gram for gram, protein will keep them feeling fuller longer, compared to carbohydrates and fat.
For days where you pack leftover pasta or salads, consider including dairy sources of protein, like a Go-GURT® Protein yogurt. They are fat-free, a good source of calcium, and kids love them! Their convenient packaging makes them a perfect item to pack in your EasyLunchbox.
3. Include a mix of fruits and vegetables
When you make fruits and vegetables the largest portion in the lunchbox, it’s easy to boost nutrition and make sure they are getting essential vitamins and minerals. Whole fruit, such as apples, pears, bananas, berries, and mandarins are excellent portable options.
The hardest part of including veggies is having all items cut-up and ready for the lunchbox. A great way to pack veggies quicker is to wash, prep, and store them in baggies or containers the day you bring them home from the grocery.
4. Add whole grains
Whole grains provide a healthy boost of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that growing kids need. The carbohydrates provide the fuel their bodies need to get them through the day at school. To ensure your child is consuming enough whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product. There are many whole grain options available for pretzels, pasta, crackers, and bread.
5. Include a treat and fresh water
I love sending a reusable bottle of iced water inside my child’s lunch bag. It provides the refreshment they need and it serves as an ice-pack! For something sweet, you can send whole grain baked goods, a simple piece of chocolate, or a frozen treat. I often keep my Go-GURT in the freezer as a grab and go nutritious lunchbox treat – plus, it thaws by lunchtime!