10 Healthy Back-to-School Lunch Tips

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It’s time to shift gears and head into the hustle and bustle of back-to-school season! Between shopping for school supplies and new clothes and checkups with the doctor, you’ve got a lot on your plate. When getting back into the routine of the school year, planning lunch can feel like yet another thing to do. So, we’re sharing a few of our favorite back-to-school lunchtime tips to help make school lunches fun and healthy! In fact, you may want to steal a few of these lunch ideas for yourself if you’re trying to eat healthier.

At Heartfelt Catering, it’s our mission to create fresh and healthy food without skimping on flavor. We believe that school lunch doesn’t have to be boring to be healthy. We know that kids will eat whole foods when exposed to healthy options at an early age. And believe it or not, kids are pretty receptive to trying new foods. We’ve learned this while volunteering with healthy eating school programs. Of course, healthy eating starts with the parent and setting a good example affirms that healthy foods are good. 

Before we get started, it’s important to remember that a well-balanced lunch should include fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Of course, when incorporating these tips at home, you’ll have to take into consideration your child’s individual food needs such as food allergies and intolerances.

Healthy Heartfelt Lunch Tips:

#1. Open-faced sandwiches are just as tasty as traditional ones.And you can use just about anything as a bread carrier, such as crackers, flatbread, rice cakes, etc.

#2. Eat your veggies in a different way. Who doesn’t like to dip?! At Heartfelt Catering, we’re fans of creating crudité with seasonal vegetables and a dip. But instead of salad dressing for dipping, we create a vegetable-based dip. Vegetables are also a great bread alternative. Think cucumbers as a replacement for sandwich bread, or even thinly sliced zucchini as an alternative for pasta and served cold.

#3. Be sure to keep your cold food cold by using small ice packs inside of resealable storage bags

#4. Be mindful of the amount of sugar you pack. Even seemingly healthy options such as non-fat plain yogurts, fruit snacks and juices are full of sugar. Whole, fresh fruits are better.

#5. One of our favorite time-saving lunch tips is to make chicken ahead of time and use it in different ways for several different lunches throughout the week. 

#6. Wraps are another way to change up the boring sandwich.There are dozens of wrap alternatives from tortillas to spinach flour wraps. And you can even use lettuce as a gluten-free wrap option.

#7. Lack of variety is the quickest way to get lunch burn-out. So add some variety to your lunches. Toasts are a fun way to add variety. Top toast with several different toppings such as cheese, avocados, red and green tomatoes and peanut butter with bananas.

#8. Healthy fats are good for the brain! Toss healthy nuts like almonds, walnuts and those fun, green gems — pistachios — into that lunchbox.

#9. Beans, quinoa and couscous are a fantastic source of fiber and non-meat protein. They’re also a great vegan option.Incorporate them with vegetables and protein for a complete meal. Our Couscous Salad features end of summer produces such as heirloom tomatoes, garden cucumbers, olives and feta cheese. 

#10. Kids love helping in the kitchen, so let them help. They’ll tackle the day with pride in knowing that they made their own lunch. They’ll be more likely to eat it all, too!

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That’s our top 10 tips for creating healthy back-to-school lunches. You didn’t think we were going to end our post without sharing a few recipe ideas, did you?

We held a taste testing session with a few of our favorite kid-testers in our neighborhood. And we’re proud to say that our dishes received the kid-seal of approval!

Healthy Lunch Inspiration:  

  • Wild rice with diced chicken and spinach with dressing
  • Grilled cheese sandwich made with Irish cheddar and roasted tomatoes. Add a cup of tomato soup or red lentil soup
  • White bean spread made with herbs olives and lime juice, spread on toast points. Top it with sliced vegetables for mini open faced veggie sandwiches
  • Grilled fruit such as pineapple, mango, peaches. Capture the natural syrup and drizzle it on top for a sweet treat
  • Veggie sushi rolls made with whole grain rice
  • Breakfast for lunch! Think pigs in blanket and breakfast sandwiches
  • Homemade granola bar is easy to make and full of healthy ingredients: rolled oats, honey, almonds, walnuts and dried cranberries. It’s the perfect snack!

We these heathy tips and recipe ideas, your transition from summer to back-to-school will be just a little easier and tastier! We’re curious to know your go-to healthy lunch idea. Tweet us at @heartfeltcateror find us on Facebook!

Cecelia Hamilton