kid eating spaghetti

Don’t let this happen. Image: Shutterstock

It’s 6:30 a.m.  You’re up, and the kids are about to head off to school.  Backpacks are packed, except…something’s missing.  OMG!  You forgot to pack the kids a lunch!  What are they going to eat?  Can you quickly scrounge up something from here or there?

Let’s see…you’ve got a bag of chips and some half eaten pasta.  There’s a yogurt that might possibly be going bad and a three quarters of the way eaten granola bar.  Not good enough.  Ugh, you sigh as you hand the kids some money to buy lunch at school.

There’s nothing really wrong with school lunch, but you don’t fully trust it either.  What’s actually in that turkey tetrazzini?  You want more for your kids.  You want to see them eating healthy, protein-rich lunches that give their brains the power to learn.

Here are some tips to make sure they get a good lunch.

  1. Start with some staples that you can grab in a pinch.  Avoid Lunchables, though, since they are high in sodium and fat.  Try things like mixed nuts, mini-boxes of raisins and other dried fruit.
  2. Prepare things in advance and freeze them in individual servings.  This applies to things like soups.  These can be loaded with heart-healthy veggies, and you can manage the salt content.  Thaw as needed.
  3. Don’t forget the protein.  This will keep your kids sharp throughout the day.  Those whose diets contain more protein feel full longer.  Protein can be found in meat (but try lean cuts and avoid nitrate-heavy cold cuts), cheese (low-fat is best) and other dairy products

    girl eating

    Pack a healthy lunch. Image: Shutterstock

  4. If you want to avoid giving your kids milk, because it can be difficult to digest, you can always opt for organic almond milk.
  5. Finally, don’t wait until the last minute.  I know…you always say you won’t…until it is the last minute.  However, try packing the lunches the night before so you can sleep in that extra ten minutes in the morning.  Hurray!  Now you can be cheerful and not turn into a grumpy “Ms. Morning” mom or dad.