Summer has flown by, am I right!?  It is hard to believe the school year’s about to begin. Maybe for some parents you are looking forward to getting back into a routine. 

The one item on a routine back to school list that always seems to be a struggle is packing a balanced lunch. Your child’s tastes are evolving and what they may have enjoyed last year they won't touch this year. Here are a few tips to help put a smile on your child's face at lunchtime, allowing them to be fully nourished with their energy and focus boosted.

- Try something other than sandwich bread. Good options include whole wheat tortillas, wraps and pita. These items freeze well, so stash a bag of each in the freezer and pull out a portion in the morning before preparing the sandwich. Or try buying small slider rolls to make a few mini sandwiches instead of one large sandwich.
- Pack protein. Protein helps to fill us up aiding in satiety. Pack a hard-boiled egg, string cheese or cooked cocktail shrimp. Hummus and black bean dip spread are other great options.
- Don't forget the fruits and veggies. Look for opportunities to incorporate them whenever possible. Add apples or pears to a chicken salad, prepare a batch of muffins with zucchini or blueberries hidden. Add sliced cucumbers to a deli sandwich. Or try sending a smoothie. Blend in the morning with your frozen fruits and should stay cool until lunchtime.
- Make your own snack mix instead of sending cookies or chips. Mix a favorite low-sugar breakfast cereal with raisins, unsalted almonds, peanuts and walnuts. If necessary, add a few sweets chocolate-covered dried fruit or small chocolate candies to make it more enticing.
- Another great snack option - popcorn! Choose a low-fat, low or unsalted pre-popped popcorn (like Skinny Pop) for the perfect whole grain snack.
- For beverage options - always send water to keep your child well hydrated. In addition, you may also send a 100% juice box for a fruit serving or a low-fat milk option for a dairy serving.

Be Well,

Kristin

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