This summer flew by, as it does every year. This week has been a flutter of conversations including new teachers, carpooling and kids lunchboxes!! Normally, most of this would worry me, but this year, I am actually EXCITED about the last topic – lunchboxes… because the boys and I have spent the past few months learning about healthy food options, seasonal fruits and veggies and discovering local sources.
I learned that the more I got them involved, the more excited they were to eat. As the school year begins just days away, I wanted to share our tips and inspiration for healthy lunchbox ideas.
- Get your kids involved: We like to go to local farmer’s markets – Braeswood Farmers Market launches this weekend, the Tuesday afternoon market in Rice Village is a great local market along with Eastside Farmers Market on Richmond (and also close to Levy Park). Each visit we would start by picking one fruit and one vegetable of their choice. We continued to do that until they had a variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from for their daily snacks and lunches.
- Ask them to help you in the Kitchen: Have them help when you are preparing snacks and lunches. Have them wash the fruit and veggies or butter the toast, etc. Giving them ownership of what they are choosing to eat will help them want to try and enjoy new foods.
- Create a variety: Kids are grazers, their stomachs are smaller than adults. I have found that my kids get bored with the same texture, so I offer different textures during snacks and lunches. One of my shortcuts when I just don’t feel like chopping fruits, veggies or proteins is to go to Salata West U. They have a children’s bento box which has become an inspiration for my kid’s lunches as well. Lately, we’ve been loving their jicama, chickpeas, snow peas, tofu chunks and pita squares! These are ingredients I would rarely buy on my own and Salata has them laid out so easily and deliciously.
- Keep it Simple: We found a lunchbox similar to the Bento Box at Salata that can easily be carried to school and is super easy to clean. The Bento Style Lunch Box, by Lunch Bots, comes in several sizes with different compartments and layouts. Offer some sort of protein, fruit and vegetable and a treat for lunch. My kids love deli meat, pasta, chopped chicken or steak for lunches. Using your leftovers from dinner for children’s lunches is a great way to make sure nothing goes to waste as well.
Good luck Mamas! Happy Back to School!