Back to School is upon us! Maybe your kids have been back for a few weeks or just started back like mine, or maybe you're one of the few lucky ones who doesn't start until after Labor Day. Regardless, we're all going to start packing lunches in the next few weeks.
I've been an avid CCN'er for over 18 months now and I've started to apply the fundamental CCN principles to my kids' lunches as well. I know how good I feel when I'm eating macro balanced meals every 3-4 hours, getting in my 5 colors of fruits and vegetables a day, and skipping out on the sugar and processed foods. Well it's no surprise that my kids are the same!
Breakfast is a meal you absolutely should not skip. Sending kids off to school after eating a balanced breakfast full of carbs, protein, and fat will help their brain function best and keep their tummies full until lunch. Breakfast can easily be carb-heavy, so make sure you're balancing out those whole-grain waffles with some protein such as eggs or peanut butter on top of that bagel or toast.
Lunch can be a bit more difficult as it's hard to know what kids are or aren't eating. You know what you pack but you have no idea if it's eaten or just thrown away. Try to offer a fruit AND a vegetable. Cutting them into fun shapes or packing a dipping sauce such as hummus or ranch might entice little ones to gasp, try something green!
And yes, even treats are alright in school lunches in my book. A few dye-free chocolate candies give kiddos something to look forward to and take treats down from their "off-limits" pedestal to just something that we eat sometimes. I don't know about you but telling my kids they can't have something makes them want it even more.
A healthy balanced lunch will take kids well into the afternoon and keep them from that afternoon blood sugar crash/slump that we often feel when not fueling our bodies properly.
Afternoon snacks at home can lend themselves to more creativity, but if you're on the go or need to pack one to send to school - an apple with a travel pouch of almond butter is always a good choice. For a packaged choice, RX bars just recently released a smaller, kids version that my kids love.These bars are macro-balanced and not full of the usual unhealthy suspects found in convenient "healthy" protein bars.
Yes, packing lunch can be tedious and time-consuming but it is well worth it to keep our kiddos well-fed throughout the day. If you're looking for more lunch ideas, you can check out our Back To School Lunch Guide. In it you'll find a list of healthy grains, proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables to pack in your kids lunches. We've also included 5 examples of healthy lunches and snacks along with a super muffin recipe that even your pickiest eaters will love!