It’s that time of year again: back to school! Whether you’re a student ready with your pencils sharpened and schedule printed, a parent eager for some quiet after a hectic summer with kids home, or a student dreading the early mornings and long days, September is coming and I want to help you prepare.
A tricky aspect of getting into this new routine (other than not being able to go to the beach and having homework to do) is packing you or your child’s lunch. Not only do you have to think of what to pack, but when you’re trying to make the lunch healthy and filling, it’s easy to run out of ideas and turn to snack packs and processed foods. My goal is to give you some ideas that will be more cost-effective, still quick to make, but much healthier!
I tried to make this list a combination of lunches and snacks and applicable to all age groups. There are nut free, vegetarian, gluten free, paleo and vegan options.
Cucumber or crackers with tuna salad (try avocado or Greek yogurt instead of mayo!)
Wraps with veggies and hummus
Egg salad sandwich/wrap
Sweet potato fries with ‘aioli’ (Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic)
Cook chicken breasts or legs the night before and cut up to have on sandwiches, wraps, or with veggies (a bit more time consuming but much better than any processed cold meats)
Veggies, pita and tzatziki
Salads: they don't have to be boring! Change it up as much as possible and make sure to add protein. Here are some combo ideas
Base options: spinach, arugula, kale, romaine, zoodles
Proteins: pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, egg, tofu, chicken, hemp seeds
Add ins: broccoli, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, sprouts, blueberries, strawberries, feta cheese, goats’ cheese, dried fruits.
Zoodles (spiralized zucchini) hot or cold is good! Mix in salads, have with tomato sauce if able to heat up or with other veggies
Spiralizing or ribboning veggies is a good way to change things up while keeping your fruit and veggie intake high (especially for kids). I do carrots, zucchini, beats, sweet potatoes, apples, cucumber, broccoli, and squash.
Leftovers: always my idea of the best lunches. When you’re preparing dinner try to make extra portions so you can save time and have a healthy, filling lunch!
Cut up fruits dipped in Greek yogurt
Veggies and hummus
Greek yogurt with pumpkin seeds and berries
Nuts and seeds with raisins or dried cranberries
Cottage cheese with fruit
Cottage cheese on sliced tomatoes
Sweet potato fries dipped in nut butter
Celery and nut butter
Toothpick with grape tomatoes, cheese, basil, in some balsamic
Veggies or pita and guacamole
Popcorn (home made)
Homemade protein bars or energy balls
I am a strong believer in meal prep. There are 100s more ideas for lunches and snacks if you have some time on a Sunday to prepare everything in advance. I know that isn’t always feasible for families so I tried to make most of the ideas here quick snacks. I try to post some meal prep ideas on my Instagram every month or so, so check those out if you’re looking for some inspiration.
There you go! I hope this can help ease you and your families into a smooth back to school routine.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments or other ideas you want to hear about!
Happy last bit of summer!
Yours in health,