Back-to-school can be a hectic time for parents and students alike. The lazy days (and mornings) of summer are over and adapting to a schedule can be challenging for the whole family. Lunches shouldn’t have to be a chaotic pile of random scraps pulled from the fridge, but some mornings can’t be handled any other way. The stimulation overload kids receive at school calls for a healthy lunch that can sustain them for the rest of the day. PB&J is easy and hot lunch is convenient, but with a little planning you can make sure your kids receive plenty of vitamins and minerals to help keep their focus on their work.
While bento boxes filled with little sushi rolls are adorable, they are not always practical. Try to think about the foods your kids eat at home. Homemade chicken nuggets may be a hit with younger kids, but highschoolers may prefer a more sophisticated option, like chicken salad rollups. Also think about their environment. Young elementary students are notorious for “dining and dashing” to get the most recess time possible, so a complicated DIY taco bar may not be fully appreciated. A few other tips to consider:
- Try to stock each lunch with healthy options like fruit, veggies, protein and carbs. These should help keep their stomachs full until they can ransack your cupboards once they get home.
- Try to invest in a good lunch bag/box that is insulated to keep foods hot or cold. A small ice bag can be thrown inside to keep foods cold while a heavy metal insulated food jar (like Thermos) can keep soups or pastas hot until lunchtime.
- If you don’t have time to prepare lunches the night before, keep a list of all their favorite lunch foods handy so you have a quick reference when you are running late and can’t think of any other ideas.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure their lunch is filling and healthy and you should have success all year long. The following are ideas and recipes for lunchtime based on different ages. Hopefully they will inspire new ideas that will make school mornings slightly less complicated.