That time of year always seems to sneak up on us, and no, we aren’t talking about Christmas (yet!). We couldn’t believe it when it when we realized that it was September, and all of our patients were returning to school. Many of you may be packing lunches for your kiddos, and we thought it would be helpful to let you know what healthy snacks and food we are packing for our own little ones as they return to the classroom. Here are just a few ideas now that we are back to school, for back to school lunches:
1. Cheese slices or cheese sticks or even string cheese.
2. Fresh fruit every day, like half of an apple or tangerine, blueberries or strawberries, grapes, or even a banana.
3. Protein in the form of fresh deli meet, like turkey or chicken or even ham or salami. Combine different meats and roll them up and pin tight with a toothpick. A hard boiled egg will also do the trick, and don’t forget about more adventurous options like egg, tuna, or crab salad.
4. Vegetables that are small, pre- sliced or cut, like celery or carrot sticks, but also bell peppers, broccoli tops, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. And don’t forget the dips! Kiddos like hummus, pesto, salsa, and homemade ranch too!
5. As the weather turns you might look towards some yummy soup or homemade mac and cheese or ravioli in a thermos to help your kiddos warm up before they head out to recess.
6. That old standby, peanut butter and jelly, but cut the bread into special shapes and use pumpkin or almond butter or boysenberry or strawberry jam instead of just grape… be creative!
7. Serve those sandwiches on bread, but think outside the box and use a bagel, roll, or a tortilla, a wrap or even crackers!
8. Yogurt, apple sauce, or pudding for dessert.
9. A special snack, like a small portion of chips or pretzels, goldfish, or a granola or cereal bar. Graham crackers, trail mix, and popcorn are all yummy treats, in small doses, too!
10. A little love note, just to say “I love you,” or “Have a great day.” Maybe draw a picture or write down a funny joke for them. Kids might roll their eyes about this kind of stuff now, but when they grow up they will treasure the time and effort you took to make their lunch, and their day, a little more special.