School Lunch Ideas!

Uncategorized Nov 06, 2018

School is in full swing now that we have been back for a while. We are starting to get comfortable in our routines, and things are feeling calmer. For now anyway!

I can’t stand how much our kids lives are junk-centric. So much sugar, so many chemicals… just all the things their little developing bodies do not need.

Did you know that since the 70s, obesity rates in children have TRIPLED?? That is wayyyyy too much. Our babies deserve better than that. And I believe that it is 100% up to us.

They are children. They do not know how food works in their bodies. They do not know about the harmful chemicals or all the sugar. It is our job to teach them. And I’m here to tell you, school certainly isn’t teaching them, with all the junk they are giving away. And don’t even get me started on the “healthy” school lunches that are served….

It is our job. And maybe YOU aren’t even fully aware of these things about food. You probably aren’t because you are going by what your parents did, and what is just the “norm” in our culture today. You probably assume kids will only eat “kid food” and that the only way to get them to do certain things is by bribing them with candy. I do not blame you, sweet momma. I know you are doing your best with what you know.

But I want to challenge you to take more control. Become more aware of our food system in America. Read ingredient labels and learn more about those ingredients. Question why many of our ingredients have been banned in other countries because of how harmful and dangerous they are, but are still totally legal and used regularly here. Question why we are one of the richest countries with some of the best resources, and yet we are the sickest and most obese. Ask questions. Learn. Don’t sleepwalk through life. I promise you, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. I’m here to help you work on making this transition for your family!

One simple way you can get your kids on a better path is to start by making yummy, wholesome school lunches! I have put together some of my best tips, and the lunches I have sent to school with my own kids to help give you some ideas. Again - this doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Keep things simple and basic while you get into the new routine. Keep encouraging your kids to try new things at home with dinner, so you can find more variety to send with them to school. Get your kids involved in making food and preparing lunches, so they take pride in it and are excited to eat it!

A couple of basic “rules” you can follow when working on getting your kids to eat cleaner:

  1. Avoid processed packaged foods. No more bags of chips, sugary granola bars, or juice boxes. Lunchables and Uncrustable sandwiches are out too. Start reading the ingredients labels on the food you’re feeding your kids. How many ingredients are listed? Can you pronounce them? Do you know what they are? Would you potentially cook with them in your own kitchen? These are good questions to ask yourself when determining if you should buy something in a package.
  2. Ditch the white breads and white pastas in favor of whole wheat and whole grain options. When we have white flour, most of the nutrients have been stripped out. That means you are getting empty calories and empty carbs - your body can’t do much with them. They are not serving a nutritional purpose. When you switch to whole wheat and whole grain, the nutritional values are still there!
  3. Skip the refined white sugar. Reading ingredient labels you will start to realize that sugar is not just in our candies and cookies anymore. It’s in almost everything packaged. Even in your kids yogurt and applesauce - things we often see as healthy things to send. The only way to know for sure what your kids are getting is to start reading the actual ingredient labels.
  4. More water! Kids do not need milk (especially sugar-filled chocolate milk) or juice, or lemonade, or any of those drinks. What they need is water. Get a reusable water bottle and send it to school every day. The benefits to this small change are massive.
  5. More veggies! Even if you have to send ranch dressing for a while, that’s ok. Get them used to the idea that veggies are a normal part of the day and start teaching them WHY veggies are so important. Get them involved in prepping them. Try new veggies with dinner so they are more used it. That way when they have them with lunch, they aren’t so surprised by them.
  6. Serve whole fat dairy, not low fat or fat free. If your child tolerates cow dairy, make sure to give them whole fat. The natural healthy fats that occur in dairy have many benefits to their little growing brains and bodies. When the fat is stripped out, it’s losing many other nutrients and benefits, not to mention they usually add sugar or other flavorings into it because it doesn’t taste as good once the fat is stripped out.  
  7. Prep things on the weekend that you want to have for lunches during the week. Many things will keep for the week in the fridge, but you can also freeze many things as wel. Some things I like to make are hard boiled eggs, muffins, oatmeal cups, soups, meatballs, and even pasta salads.

These are things that you should be following with your nutrition too! Keeping things simple can be very helpful when you are trying to make lunches for you and your kids. You can even pack the same things, just increase the portion sizes for you!

I always try to make or prep as much as I can on the weekend, and then at night after my kids are in bed (because they are still little) I will put their lunches together, get mine together, and that way we don’t have a chaotic morning. Because let’s be honest… the more chaotic and busy the morning trying to get everyone out the door, the more likely we are to make less than desirable choices - for us AND them.

I hope these ideas from lunches I have made are helpful and give you some ideas! Keep things simple and basic, especially in the beginning while you get used to it! Comment below if this was helpful, and if you’d like to see more lunch ideas!

Make sure you follow me on Instagram @jessieconley where I often post food and tips in my Instastory!

And remember to live a Life Fueled by Faith!

LUNCHES (note: my kids get to school really early and they have to stay after too. I send breakfast, lunch, and snacks so they have stuff for the whole day - your kid may not need as much food as what I send!)

Salami and turkey, celery and tomatoes, organic ranch, homemade "trail mix" of raisins, pumpkin seeds, and pistachios, and homemade gluten free/sugar free banana oat donuts

Salami, cheese stick, watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, organic ranch, homemade gluten free/sugar free banana oat donut, applesauce, organic popcorn, plain greek yogurt mixed with honey and topped with homemade coconut granola

Salami, homemade gluten free/sugar free pumpkin muffin, cheese stick, applesauce, organic popcorn, tomatoes, organic ranch, and cantaloup 

Plain greek yogurt mixed with honey and topped with homemade coconut granola, organic popcorn, hard boiled egg, turkey, steamed veggies, black olives

plain greek yogurt mixed with honey and topped with homemade coconut granola, organic popcorn, applesauce, strawberries, ranch, tomatoes, and a rare treat of pretzel bread sandwich with turkey and cheddar

strawberries, blueberries, salami and goat milk mozzarella, banana, broccoli and carrots, organic ranch, and gluten free white bean chips

Strawberries and blueberries, sweet pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes, ranch, gluten free/sugar free pumpkin muffin, salami, banana, gluten free white bean chips

Homemade whole wheat sugar free cinnamon raisin bread, blueberry oatmeal cups, apples, strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes, organic popcorn, and yogurt (this one is not sugar free)

Salami, grapes, blueberry oatmeal cup, cucumbers, homemade "trail mix" of banana chips, golden raisins and rare treat of chocolate chips, organic popcorn, apples with sunflower butter to dip, dairy free almond milk yogurt in the blue container 

Homemade whole wheat sugar free cinnamon raisin bread, salami, apples, cucumbers and tomatoes, blueberry oatmeal cup, organic popcorn, strawberry yogurt (this one is not sugar free)

 Nitrite free organic turkey hotdog, blueberry oatmeal cup, mint chocolate ball (healthy! Gluten free, sugar free, dairy free), strawberries and grapes, dairy free almond milk yogurt, carrots, hard boiled egg, gluten free black sesame crackers

Nitrite free organic turkey hotdog, blueberry oatmeal cup, strawberries and grapes, yogurt, sweet peppers, organic popcorn, applesauce

Nitrite free organic turkey hotdog, blueberry oatmeal cup, strawberries and grapes, dairy free almond milk yogurt, cucumbers, popcorn

2 kids, slightly different!

K got a nitrite free organic turkey hotdog, chocolate chip banana oat pancakes (gluten free), strawberries and grapes, dairy free almond milk yogurt, gluten free crackers and goat milk mozzarella, rice cake with sunflower seed butter, and a 100% fruit bar

G got Nitrite free organic turkey hotdog, banana, strawberries, greek yogurt, cucumbers, rice cake with peanutbutter

K got homemade gluten free chocolate chip banana oat pancakes, 100% fruit bar, organic popcorn, carrots, apples, whole sprouted grain wrap with sunflower seed butter inside, and white bean chips with goat milk mozzarella

G got organic popcorn, yogurt, carrots, sweet peppers and tomatoes, whole sprouted grain wrap with peanut butter inside, apples

K got homemade gluten free chocolate chip banana oat pancakes, 100% fruit bar, black bean chips, grapes, jicama, raisins, sunflower seed butter and strawberry fruit spread on whole wheat, whole grain sprouted bread

G got peanut butter and strawberry fruit spread on whole wheat, whole grain sprouted bread, grapes, raisins, jicama and sweet peppers, black bean chips

Gluten free chocolate chip banana oat pancakes, 100% fruit bar, banana, cucumbers, hummus, chocolate ball (healthy!), whole sprouted grain wrap with sunflower seed butter, gluten free sesame seed crackers and goat milk mozzarella

G got a very rare treat of a nutrigrain bar (someone gave her), greek yogurt with grapes and honey, applesauce, organic popcorn, gluten free back sesame crackers, cheddar, turkey, cucumbers and tomatoes, ranch

K got turkey, goat milk mozzarella, 100% fruit bar, cucumbers and hummus, organic popcorn, applesauce, yogurt with honey and strawberries

Organic popcorn, jicama and carrots and tomatoes, organic ranch, salami, apples, chocolate hummus, gluten free crackers or banana chips, and smoothie pops (with lots of spinach and fruit in them!

 Both kids got plain greek yogurt with organic honey and strawberries, homemade gluten free banana oat pancakes, organic ranch and cucumbers, salami, apples, and sunflower butter with strawberry fruit spread (only fruit!) on organic whole wheat whole grain bread

Both kids got organic popcorn, veggie muffin (from Costco!), unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon, strawberries, cucumbers, salami and a rice cake

Had a busy week so I prepped 2 days worth of meals for both kids! Homemade gluten free/sugar free sweet potato muffins, hard boiled eggs, apples, cucumbers and ranch, gluten free sesame crackers, salami, organic popcorn, plain greek yogurt with honey and strawberries and granola



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