As much as we are all trying to hold on to the last remnants of Summer, the truth is that the new school year is right around the corner. As a parent, I can tell you that making plans in advance and establishing a routine are very important to make sure that the back to school season goes off without a hitch. Many parents find it quite challenging to come up with healthy back to school lunch ideas.
It is very important to create a meal plan with your family before actually heading out to the grocery store to stock up on foods. There are so many choices out there that going shopping without some kind of a plan can be extremely overwhelming for any parent. You have to be realistic about what your child will and will not eat and the best way to come to some kind of an agreement is to sit down and have a conversation with them about their preferences. Working together with your child will help them to make wiser and more nutritious food choices.
Joan Hanson, the test kitchen director for Hormel Foods, is an expert in new recipe development. For some quick tips about healthy lunches, check out this article. Here are a few additional tips that will help you along in the process of creating successful, healthy school lunches not just in the month of September, but all year long:
- Veggie sticks are always a great addition to a packed lunch. To add a bit more excitement to please your child, send a small container of hummus to dip vegetables in. For a fresh, healthful addition, try new Peloponnese® hummus spread.
- Dried fruit and nuts are a great alternative to a bag of chips or cookies. Toss a variety of nuts together with raisins or other dried fruits and make a homemade trail mix. Throw in some whole grain cereal for extra crunch. Let your child pick out their favorites and create the snack themselves.
- Many families are reluctant to send their child to school with sandwiches packed with deli meats because of the fear of added nitrates and preservatives. Luckily the Hormel® Natural Choice® line of deli meats is 100% natural meat with zero preservatives, no added nitrites or nitrates and no MSG. These meats are also gluten free! Ditch the bread and make roll-ups using your choice of deli meat.
- Make water your child’s best friend, as water is one of the most important nutrients for a growing body. Staying hydrated not only helps with physical performance, but mental as well, keeping your child on top of things in the classroom.
Have you set a meal plan prior to the school year? Is it monthly, weekly or daily? Are there certain items that you always include in your children’s’ lunches? What are the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis when packing school lunches?
Disclosure: In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’ve partnered with Hormel Foods as part of the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger Program. While Hormel Foods provides me material and necessary resources to complete various activities, all statements and sentiment in Tough Cookie Mommy are my own.
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