This blog post is sponsored but all opinions, photos and nutritional knowledge is my own!
Happy Friday pretty friends! I hope you are having a great week. By now most everyone is back at school and getting back into a routine. Anyone already exhausted of packing a new lunch every single day? I can definitely see how the idea of packing a fresh, healthy lunch for your child (or yourself!) 180+ days might seem a little daunting. But not to fear, I am here to help along with my friends at Whole Foods!
Packing Lunch Tips
I have been packing my lunch as long as I can remember. I’ve never been one to buy lunch when I was at school or work so I truly consider myself a ‘lunch building expert’. A few tips that you need to keep in mind when creating lunch for your little ones-
- Try to remember the My Plate model when packing a lunch: one vegetable serving, one fruit, a protein (chicken, turkey, tofu, peanut butter) and one whole grain.
- Avoid packing empty calories- candy, soft drinks, energy drinks, cakes or cookies.
- Pack a water bottle filled with water and natural fruit for flavoring. Get creative by mixing different fruits together!
- Make enough dinner for leftovers.
- Pack lunches the night before instead of in the morning.
- Always pack a protein + a fiber! These two combined will help create fullness, control blood sugar and help regulate your digestive tract!
I can honestly tell you that Whole Foods is one of my favorite grocery stores because of the high quality products they carry. They research everything- from food additives to antibiotics in meat production, sustainable seafood to organic skin care. If you want to know what goes into the products you buy, their standards make it easy, because if it doesn’t meet the standards, they don’t sell it. It’s refreshing and comforting to know that what you are buying for your family meets high standards!
Another reason I shop at Whole Foods is for their reasonable prices. I always check out their weekly sales and take advange of seasonal items when I shop. Don’t believe me? Let me show you! I got everything I needed to create 3 quick, healthy lunches at Whole Foods for under $30. And I had a ton of left over so it can easily create over a weeks worth of lunches. Pretty amazing, right? I was so excited when I found all these delicious options to try. When I got home I put together these lunches in less than an hour since everything was easy to prep. Here are the 3 lunches I made to share with you-
Breakfast for Lunch
In my experience most kids LOVE when you change things up and do breakfast for lunch or dinner! So why not send it in a lunch box? I boiled some eggs, toasted some mini waffles, and baked these Dr.Praeger’s Sweet Potato Littles. And you can’t forget a little dessert like a granola bar! This lunch is packed with protein and great fiber!
Veggie Spaghetti Lunch
I’m sure by now you have seen how you can literally create spirals out of almost any vegetable! If you don’t have the time or motivation to make your own spirals, Whole Foods has a great alternative with these Veggie Noodle Co spiral veggie options (only $4.99)! I went with the cucumbers because I find that most kids love cucumber. You can either make a fun noodle salad OR treat them like pasta and add some meat sauce to them! I also added these Hilary’s Veggie Bites for some additional protein. These are SO good and can be fun to dip in ranch or ketchup. I also added edamame and a rice cereal sweet treat to complete the lunch.
This was actually my favorite lunch I created because I could not get over how delicious and healthy it was. Believe it or not this is actually a vegan Chick’n Slider by Gardein. Looks like real chicken, right? Funny story- I actually bought it thinking it was!! I saw it in the frozen food section at Whole Foods and thought they would make a great add on for any lunch (thinking it was a real chicken sandwich). When I turned over the box to read the nutrition label I noticed it said “NO CHOLESTEROL” which was intriguing since all animal products contain cholesterol. That’s when I realized it was vegan! Mind blown! And guess what? They even taste just as good as real chicken! I put my theory to the test and gave some to my sister (not telling her it was vegan) and she loved it! When I told her about them she could not believe it either. If she didn’t notice, I assure you that your kids won’t either!
For this lunch I did the vegan chick’n sandwich, some greens to add to the sandwich, strawberries and tangerine for vitamin C and these delicious Chickpea white cheddar cheese crackers! This lunch will guarantee to leave your child satisfied!
More Lunch Ideas
Here are a few more easy, healthy lunch ideas:
- Chicken salad, tuna salad, or egg salad sandwich on whole grain bread or in a whole grain wrap. Substitute Greek yogurt for half of the mayonnaise to reduce calories and fat.
- Rice paper wrappers or large lettuce leaves make great rolled-up meals that are fun to eat. Fill them with pulled chicken or ground turkey.
- Hummus on a whole grain wrap with spinach and bell peppers. Substitute other vegetables as your child prefers.
And we cannot forget about healthy snacks!! Just like when packing a lunch, remember to combine a protein + a fiber option to keep your child full! This will keep them from further snacking and ruining their appetite for dinner. Here are some healthy ideas:
- Cut up apples with cheddar cheese
- Cheese sticks
- Yogurt with berries
- Fruit and/or vegetable kabobs with cheese
- Carrots, celery, and cucumber with hummus
- Whole grain pita chips or rice crackers with hummus
- Wasa crackers with almond butter
- Bell peppers with ranch dip (try buying ranch seasoning and mixing with Greek yogurt for a low fat, high protein alternative)
- Steamed edamame
- Dried fruit and sunflower seeds
I hope that I have re-inspired you to create some delicious, easy, nutritious lunches for your kids. I also hope you will head over to your local Whole Foods to pick up some goodies to make your lunch packing a little better!