With the chaos that accompanies the getting back to school season ramping up come some inevitable chores like school supply shopping, there is also getting a new work wardrobe, and a huge list of activities to worry about. Naturally, one of those activities is preparing lunch for the kids and the adults. Still, packing lunch doesn’t have to come with additional stress, so here are some useful tricks from Mary Ellen Phipps, a dietitian and proud mother to two little girls.
Keeping a Lunch Nutritionally Simple Is Crucial for a Healthy Diet
Choosing and preparing healthy food for lunch is pretty easy, and Phipps has shared some of her expert tips for a good, healthy meal during the fall. Her first rule of thumb is to keep things simple, in a nutritional sense. Whether the lunch is for an adult or a kid, fiber, protein, and good fats should be the priority. These three things will keep blood sugar levels stable while maintaining great energy levels.
Preparing to pack lunch ahead of time is also very important. During the week, lunches for adults and kids should be almost the same to get things done faster. Phipps recommends prepping fruits and veggies on the weekend by washing and chopping them to be ready for the week ahead. This can be done very easily with cucumbers and bell peppers, and carrots and blueberries can be washed in advance. This way, a lunchbox can be packed very fast by including the fruits and veggies and adding things like hard-boiled eggs, cheese, walnuts, and a mustard dip.
Parents Should Not Forget to Prepare Lunch for Themselves as Well
While moms and dads can be quite busy, Phipps stresses that they should not forget about their lunches while focusing on those for the kids. The easiest way to do that is to prepare the adults’ lunches at the same time as those for the kids to ensure everyone is well fed. Every lunch should have at least one fruit, one veggie, and one whole grain source, as well as one or two protein sources. All these are vital for staying full and satisfied, but the fruits and vegetables come with the added benefit of vitamins and minerals.
When in Doubt, Making Turkey Sandwiches Is Always a Good Call
When there are too many or no other options, a simple solution is to make turkey sandwiches for lunch. When done right, a turkey sandwich offers protein, whole grains, and lots of flavors. Nitrate-free lunch meats are the preferable choice in those cases. Again, preparing all of the components ahead of time is a good way to save time, so having them ready to assemble in the morning is a plus. Kids often like a bit of mustard or mayo with turkey, and cheese and cucumbers can also be added.
Mary Ellen Phipps advises that busy parents should keep in mind how important it is to stay hydrated. It’s even more crucial to hydrate during the day, and it is just as important for the kids to intake plenty of fluids. While plain water will do the trick, it often gets boring for the kids, and it is there that preparing a batch of unsweetened iced tea for the week is a great idea.