I know, just last week I told you that I serve my children ice cream for dinner.
More often than I plan to admit officially.
But, I’m not always doing the whole mom fail thing in the kitchen.
Just in summer, when it’s hot, and we’re busy, and tired, and, um, stuff.
As we are gearing up to head back to school, I am already thinking about how I will ensure that they eat healthy
-ish during the school day. They need the midday nutrition so their brains can have the energy to figure out math and reading and why girls are so confusing and all of that other stuff you learn at school.
It’s easy at home.
I’m right here,
nagging them helping them make good food choices with threats and ultimatums positive reinforcement and encouragement.
I can easily monitor their intake because they don’t throw away their food at home.
Homie don’t play that.
But, I’m not naive enough to believe that they don’t throw away those soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I send them to school with on my lazy days. I can barely choke that crap down myself and I’ve already endured years of children-are-starving-in-Africa guilt psychology mumbo jumbo from my own parents.
So, most days I try
a teeny bit harder than that. I just make an effort to pack them healthy-ish meals filled with things I know they like and will eat. Not just because they are starving, not just because they know that if I find out they aren’t eating I will show up at school and dine with them, but because they actually want to.
Here are some of our most successful lunch box ideas that are perfect for the last summer outings you have planned AND back-to-school healthy lunch ideas too.
1. Hummus. The Dudes are dippers. Give them something healthy to dip in something healthy and they are all over that. Hummus is perfect for raw vegetables and a bunch of other things, like pita chips and fingers.
2. Harvest Snaps. This is a recent discovery of ours and we can’t even get enough of these things. We love the Wasabi Ranch flavor (and by we I mostly mean me because I actually didn’t let them try this one) and we eat them instead of chips with sandwiches. They are a lighter, less salty, pea based snack that have more nutritional value than chips (do chips even have nutritional value?), while also tasting pretty fantastic.
3. Fruit salad. Yummy, yummy! Please tell me you remember the Wiggles. Just like our favorite
creepy Australian kid band, we try to make fruit a major part of every meal.
4. Shelf Safe Milk. The Dudes pack a shelf safe milk in their lunch boxes every single day of life. I love them because they are healthier than a sugary juice drink (they are milk, just the same as the one you refrigerate, just packaged differently for shelf safeness), they are easy to carry (because of the awesome packaging technology, they don’t need to be refrigerated until after they are opened), and they are single serve (although you can get bigger ones, the single serves are PERFECT for school lunches). They love them because they come in the chocolate variety and I’m cool with them taking those as long as they promise to drink them. I freeze theirs and then put them in their boxes to melt before lunch time because warm milk in the middle of a school cafeteria just feels wrong.
5. Salsa. These Dudes dig salsa. The whole dip thing again. But, I make a mean black bean and corn salsa that makes them do crazy things for me. Like not complain about eating healthy. Added bonus: this summer, #3 grew all of the tomatoes for our salsa himself.
6. Pasta. Honey badger don’t care, and neither do The Dudes when it comes to cold pasta. They will eat mac and cheese (NOT the blue box kind!), sesame noodles, or a tomato sauce one at room temp, no problem.
7. Sliders. They like when I send mini grilled chicken sandwiches on “fancy” bread (fancy means anything that doesn’t come in the standard loaf variety when you live in our house).
8. Quesadillas. Personally, I think cheese starts to get gross like 8 minutes after it leaves the fire and 13 minutes after it leaves the fridge, but kids don’t seem to be so discriminatory. I usually use the aforementioned corn salsa and whole wheat tortillas to jazz the nutrition up a bit.
9. Protein bars. We’ve tried a bunch of different bars. They’re faves so far are the Kidz Zone Perfect bars, specifically, yellow cupcake. #2 says they are SO his jam.
10. DIY Pizza. They like putting them together. I actually toast some cheese on top of English Muffins before they go to school and then they add the sauce and pepperoni at the table. Again with the away-from-the-oven-cheese, I want to gag at the thought, but they ask for them at least once a week.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of iVillage
. The opinions and text are all mine.