It is full-on back to school season for many of you: buying supplies, checking out class schedules, planning curriculum... it's a busy season! We know full well how peace and rest can seem nonexistent during these times. Living Wellness is committed to giving you encouragement and strategies for maintaining balance during busy, and may we say stressful times, such as this season. Check out this post on rest and stayed tune for an upcoming post on peace during these seasonal transitions.
Does your back-to-school prep include planning lunches? For those of you who are not in the back-to-school whirlwind, keep reading! Lunch prep tips are valuable to anyone who, well, eats lunch!! In today's post we're giving you tips for lunch time content and what contains that tasty lunch. Happy lunch-ing!!
Not only do we want to fill lunches with tasty, nourishing foods, but they need to look good too! This section covers tips on both.
I (Ashley) love to build my kids lunches kind of like a triangle: at least one vegetable and a protein/fat are the base, a healthy fruit is the next tier, a healthy treat is the next tier, and to top it off I consider the presentation:
Building a healthy lunch starts with a solid foundation
- Red pepper slices, cucumber, mini broccoli, celery sticks, etc. for the veggie and hard boiled eggs, avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butter with sourdough, etc. for the protein and fat
- Sliced apricot, orange/apple/grapefruit wedges, handful of berries, cubed pineapple or melons are all great options for the fruit
- Healthy treat: dried mango, organic popcorn, dark chocolate chips, homemade muffin (check out this recipe for an quick recipe that also freezes well if you want to make a bunch ahead of time), or chocolate chip cookie (Caitlyn's personal favorite is this recipe by Danielle Walker at Against All Grain.
Top it all off: Presentation
Slice the fruit, vegetable, or protein in a fun way! Cookie cutters aren't just great for cookies! Apricots can easily be cut to look like a flower. Avocado: easy to make fun designs in that soft green core.
Can you pack all the components into a little scene such as in the shape of a person or smiley face (check out Pinterest for endless ideas).
- Include a note! This can be a great addition to looking forward to a special treat or in place of it. I (Ashley) love leaving notes such as, "You are strong and courageous. God is with you today" or leaving a Bible verse, silly quote, or emojis in there for a quick moment of encouragement
Get your kids involved with grocery shopping and lunch prep to boost their interest in eating their healthy lunch and teach early responsibility skills!
Check out these posts for some more great lunch prep ideas!
- 3 Nutrition Tips for Your Back-to-School Routine
- Gluten Free Lunchbox Ideas
- Healthy School Lunch Ideas
- 5 Ideas for Healthy and Fun Lunches
Holding It All Together
In addition to carefully choosing what foods to put in your or your child's lunch, it's important to consider what kind of container to put it in. When considering containers, you want to consider what the container is designed for (warm foods, cold foods, food that needs to be heated, etc.), how spill-proof is it, and what the container is made out of. The Environmental Working Group has a great article here about how to choose plastics carefully which is helpful when considering what to pack your tasty lunch creation in.
We prefer to pack lunches in glass and stainless steel as much as possible though we've also found some more eco-friendly plastic options too. Here's a list of some of our favorite products:
Glass Storage Containers: I (Caitlyn) prefer glass storage containers that include a silicone sleeve because the sleeve gives added protection from bumps and drops while also reducing the risk of your container sliding off the table. I love this ones by UKonserve available on Amazon in a one-pack and Ukonserve's website in a double.
It's a wrap! Bee's Wrap is a great alternative to traditional plastic wrap as it's made from cotton coated with beeswax, it's reusable, and the designs add to the presentation factor. Check it out here on Amazon or MightyNest.
No Microwave Needed- Insulated thermos: A thermos is a great alternative to taking time to heat up food at lunch time. All you need is to place hot water from your coffee maker, tea kettle, or boiled water from a pan into the thermos for 5 minutes with the lid on tight. Pour out the water and pour in hot soup, pasta with sauce, or hot dish. This will keep your food hot for up to 5 hours. Here are two great options: Ukonserve or Thermos brand. I love using this for transporting soups all throughout the year. Lately I've been on Zuppa Toscana soup kick.
Stainless Steel Containers: I love the flexibility of these Ukonserve containers with movable dividers, however this 4 section Divided Bentox Box by Lunch Bots is also great for keeping saucy sides separate.
Keep it Colorful! We use these colorful silicone baking cups not only for baking but work great for keeping foods divided on a plate, in a glass or stainless steel container, or in an Ezpz mat.
Utensils: I love this set of bamboo utensils. I've actually just started using the fabric sleeve to hold a metal fork and spoon so that it's easy to toss these in the dishwasher after work. This option includes a set of bamboo utensils and a easy to roll placemat.
Waterbottle: I (Caitlyn) love this leakproof glass waterbottle from Lifefactory. Easy to clean, easy to use, durable. I fill up two of these and try to make it my goal to drink both by the end of my work day. For lunch time at home, I love these stainless steel kids cups using these silicone straws and covers.
Ice pack: These ice packs are great for lunch bags and barely sweat.
How will you carry it all? Don't forget a lunch bag! Love this one as I can toss it in the wash at the end of the week and it cleans us good as new! For lunches at home, I (Caitlyn) LOVE these silicone placemats for kids.
Don't feel like you need to go out and purchase all these items at once! Each of our kitchens have been slowly evolving to include more natural household products over the past several years. Keep an eye out for sales in store and online, shop around on different websites for the product you like, and consider a low cost subscription to something like MightyFix which sends you a new household product.
Hope this gives you a few new ideas for how to jazz up lunchtime. We'd love for you to share your ideas too! Comment below!
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
Caitlyn J. Hanson & Ashley Darkenwald
© 2017 Living Wellness, LLC Revolutionizing health, one community at a time.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.