Pack the Snacks and Forget the Main Dish
If your kids are anything like mine, they love to snack! I would send my kids to school with nutritious lunches only to see them untouched in the lunchbox when they got home. They were only eating the snacks. So I started thinking… why not send them to school with nutritious snacks instead. I would save time at night because I wouldn’t have to think of peanut free meals, and my kids would be happier at lunch time anyway. It was a win-win.
Once I changed the way I packed their lunchboxes, the kids actually started eating their lunch! I wasn’t wasting money on food and packing snacks also saved time! Don’t get me wrong, I still want my kids to eat healthy lunches. So when I say snacks, I really mean healthy lunches disguised as snacks.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Depending on the age of your kids, you will want to consider the speed at which they eat. My 7 year old still eats slowly so I don’t give her anything that could take a long time. For example, she will eat raisins one at a time, so it would take her the entire lunch period to eat a serving. At the same time, she likes to eat applesauce with a straw so she eats it in a few minutes…I did not teach her the straw technique!
- Packing snacks will mean lots of little containers. Be sure to use age appropriate containers that the kids are able to open themselves. Some containers have tight lids and the kids may spill the contents when trying to open it. That would just be sad.
OK I’m Convinced, Now Give Me Some Ideas
Hopefully, you have already read my article on Thrive Market. If not, you can read it HERE. This is where the convenience of Thrive makes up for the Annual Fee. There are so many items that I buy from Thrive which I haven’t been able to find in the supermarket. Honestly, as a working mom, I don’t have the time to try to search for these items in the store. I can order these on my lunch break and have it delivered later in the week.
Here are some ideas. I typically pick one Main Snack and 2-3 Side Snacks:
|Main Snacks||Side Snacks|
|Ants on a log (Celery, Sunflower seed butter, raisins)||Fruits – Apples, Bananas, Cuties (oranges), Strawberries, etc|
|Hummus and Vegetables (or Pita chips)||Vegetables – Celery, Carrots, Tomatoes|
|Whole Wheat Crackers & Cheese Squares||Apple Sauce|
|Hard Boiled Eggs||Fruit Leather|
|Fruit (or Green) Smoothie||Raisins|
|100% Chicken Nuggets||Almond Flour Crackers|
|Healthy Muffins – Click HERE for Zucchini Muffin recipe||Edamame (Soybeans)|
My Standard Purchases from Thrive Market:
The best part about Thrive Market is that everything on their website falls into the clean eating category. So you really can’t go wrong. However, there are some standard items that I order every time. I’ll list my favorites below:
I had to post this first because it is an absolute winner! The only downside is that the whole family likes these so it goes quickly. These crackers are made of Almond Flour, Sunflower seeds and flax which means the kids aren’t eating just white wheat flour. I love that! I also believe (hope) that because it is Almond flour, it will keep them full, longer.
MySuperSnack Granola Bites are deceiving. Yes, they look like chocolate junk food, but when you read the ingredients, you’ll find that they are nutritious. These are made with whole grain oats, omega-3 rich flax seeds and amaranth (an ancient super food). I tasted these and they aren’t very sweet. I was surprised the kids liked them.
This one is self explanatory. This particular brand is organic and it has no added sugar. It is just apples! The downside to this one is obvious…you will need to repack it in a smaller container. However, I prefer this over the plastic containers since there is potential for leaching. Those plastic containers don’t even claim to be BPA free, so who knows what else is in there.
To prevent disappointment, Sunflower seed butter should not be viewed as a substitute for peanut butter. Aside from the texture, it is nothing like peanut butter. My kids don’t like it in a sandwich with jelly, but they will eat it with celery. This brand dry roasts the seeds and adds a very small amount of cane sugar (there is only 2g of sugar per serving). I used to buy the Trader Joe sunflower seed butter but this one has a much better flavor.
This one is deceptive. I know it’s chocolate muffins but here’s the thing, our kids are seeing all of the processed foods that some of the other kids are bringing in their lunches, so we need to make their lunch exciting. These muffins are made with only 7 ingredients including Almond Flour, coconut sugar and cocoa powder. They only have 6 grams of sugar. I make these as small muffins and then give the kids more than one.
These are just some ideas to get your mind rolling! I make one item on the weekend that I can include throughout the week. Doing this also helps me because I can eat these at work too! Some recipes that have worked out well are protein balls, healthy muffins and energy bars.
Involve the Kids
As with anything, if the kids are involved, they are more likely to eat it. We have a dedicated snack drawer in our house. It is at the perfect height for the kids to open themselves. When i’m packing lunch I have them grab 2-3 items and pack it in their lunchbox (I only have healthy options in the drawer).
Try it for a week. You’ll simplify the chore of packing a lunch and get your kids will actually eat their food. Share any tips or tricks that you find for packing lunch!