Back to School: Healthy Lunch Ideas
Summer may still be in full swing, but now is the time to start planning for the change that comes with fall and the school year ahead! From new clothes to backpacks and school supplies, we know that your checklist can begin to feel overwhelming pretty quickly. We’re here to help with some simple and healthy lunch ideas that will cut down your meal prep time while satisfying even the pickiest of palettes!
The Elements of a Healthy Lunch
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a healthy and balanced lunch should be 50% colorful fruits and veggies and 50% whole grains and lean proteins:
- Aim for a variety of veggies that your kids will eat. Potatoes and French fries don’t count because they have a negative impact on blood sugar.
- Choose whole or sliced fruits instead of sugar-filled fruit juices.
- Foods made with minimally processed whole grains like whole-wheat bread are the better choice for sandwiches.
- Poultry, fish, and eggs are the healthiest protein options. Avoid or limit red and processed meats like hot dogs.
Healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and dairy foods like plain or naturally flavored yogurt and small cheese are good additions to any lunch.
And let’s not forget a little dessert! Traditional treats like cookies and candy are loaded with extra calories and sugars that may cause an afternoon crash. Instead, opt for healthier options like our yummy and soft-baked EVER BETTER™ Protein Cookie bites. You will love both the indulgent flavors and that these bites are low in sugar and packed with protein and probiotics.
How to Get the Whole Family on Board with Healthier Eating
By teaching your family the importance of healthy and balanced eating now, they will develop the skills and mindset needed to make better choices as they get older - and it will help support healthy eating habits for yourself. We know that it can be challenging to get picky eaters on board, so here are some simple tips and tricks:
- Go bento-style. We love bento-style lunchboxes because they make it easy to visually tell when you have the right balance of healthy foods. These lunch boxes are available at most major retailers so that you can choose - and let your kids pick out - their favorite color and design.
- Let family members help. Start by creating a list of healthy, approved lunch items from the four main groups (fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins). Then, when you do your meal prep, ask each person to pick out what they want.
- Make it fun. Based on what you like to eat, you can create unique themes to look forward to, like “Taco Tuesdays.”
Need a little inspiration for bringing these guidelines to life? Here is one week’s worth of healthy lunch ideas to get you started:
- Peanut butter, honey, and open-faced pear sandwich (recipe from Taste of Home)
- Carrot and celery sticks
- Plain yogurt topped with berries
- Whole grain soft taco shell filled with taco-seasoned chicken breast
- Guacamole and/or salsa
- Sliced bell peppers
- Turkey and cheddar roll-ups (use minimally processed deli turkey)
- Apple slices
- Celery sticks (with low-fat ranch dip if needed)
- EVER BETTTER™ Brownie Bliss! Protein Cookie Bites
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Hummus & cucumber slices
- Low-fat string cheese
- Whole wheat chicken wrap with veggies (recipe from Taste of Home)
- Orange slices
- Yogurt with EVER BETTER Chocolate PB Passion! Protein Cookie Bites for a topper
With these fun and healthy Back to School lunch ideas, you can feel good about putting your whole family on the right track while reducing the amount of time you spend on meal prep!
Let’s live EVER BETTER™ - together!