School is back in session, which means you are busy putting together quick + simple lunches for your ever hungry and growing littles. Weather they are headed to school or staying home for their studies with mom or dad these tips will help give you fun + fresh ideas to keep them mentally focused and energized throughout the day. And what mom doesn't want a good listener!?!
1. MAKE SURE THEY LIKE IT! The most important part about nourishing our littles is feeding them foods they will actually eat and enjoy. Lunches are no different than other meals, find foods they love and see how you can make them healthy. Some great ideas are pizza with goat cheese on a cauliflower crust, PB+J's using fruit juice sweetened jelly + homemade coconut flour pancakes as the bread, veggies with a fun dip like pesto, and of course upgraded snacks + goodies from Thrive market (see our favorites here). Get 25% off your first order with this link.
2. THINK VEGGIE , FRUIT, FAT + PROTEIN :) Ensure their lunches are balanced and won't leave their little bodies on a blood sugar roller coaster. Include a veggie (like cucumber, carrot sticks, snap peas), fruit (like berries, apple slices, tangerine), fat (like avocado, olives, cheese, nuts/seeds, anything coconut), and protein (like beef jerky, salami, lentils, hummus, beans). Usually kids get plenty of starchy carbs and most moms will include these anyways, that's why they don't make our 'must include' list. That said when choosing a starchy carb opt for whole grains or root vegetables and do your best to avoid oils like canola + soybean along with cane sugar + high fructose corn syrup. Ezekiel bread is a great option and Canyon Bakehouse for the gluten free little, cassava flour tortilla chips, plantain chips and these potato chips.
3. HAVE A FUN LUNCHBOX + WATER BOTTLE. These seem silly but are actually so important! The first step in creating meals people love is for the food to look incredible, well kids lunches are no different. We love Planetboxes because your little can see all the food at once. This shows them their different options to pick + choose from. They can also enjoy going from one flavor to the next. It visually helps mom too when putting together the lunch; you can make sure they are truly eating the rainbow, that portions are on point and that you have your veggie, fruit, fat + protein included. Of course making sure they are getting adequate hydration is critical, we suggest letting them choose a water bottle in their favorite color with a straw. Straws make drinking so much easier and we know busy bees will rarely take extra time to do things that they don't believe are 100 percent necessary, like opening a bottle ;)
4. EDUCATE! It's never too early to start talking to your kids about the choices they make with food and how it impacts them. You can share why they need; Protein, 'your brain won't fire correctly without it (and we know how much you love to read) plus protein helps you grow big + strong'; Fats, 'every cell of your body is covered with fat; it acts as its protection, it also helps keep our moods steady so less high highs and low lows'; Veg + Fruit; 'these are what help keep you healthy so you don't have to miss out on any fun!'
5. LET THEM PICK A SPECIAL TREAT. Treats don't have to be unhealthy to be 'treats' none the less. This can mean a few slices of dried mango, a hunk of stevia sweetened chocolate, toasted coconut shavings or homemade gelatin gummies. It's so important to have your kids as involved as possible in the lunch making process, once they have picked the other foods they love, tell them the treat will be their special reward for actually eating their lunch. Of course, if the lunch comes back full and only the treat was eaten you might have to have a little conversation about how all the foods on their plate were picked with care and next time their may not be a treat ;)
We'd love for you to connect with us @happyhealthylittles and share your #happyhealthylunches. Let's make lunches something our kids and health conscious mommas love.
Xo Dani and Whitney