Are your kids back to school yet? As we are getting back into the swing of things around here, social media has reminded me of something that many parents like to forget about in the summer…. Making lunches.
I get it. I’ve been there. I’m still there some days. As a busy mom, let’s be honest, it’s easy to let making lunch fall to the wayside. Add in a possibly picky kid and some days it feels impossible to live up to the Pinterest mom expectations.
Research has shown time and time again that a nutrient-dense lunch can be the difference between kids being able to focus in their classroom in the afternoon and kids acting out or even falling asleep.
Think about how your own afternoon goes. For example, maybe you have a turkey sandwich with chips for lunch. Do you crash in the afternoon? How long do you have energy for?
Now, what if you had a more balanced lunch such as turkey meat on an open sandwich or one slice of bread, carrot sticks dipped in hummus and an apple. How much longer would you make it before you needed a snack?
Think about it… why should we expect kids to get through the afternoon on an uncrustable and juice box when we wouldn’t be able to make it with energy on the adult-sized portion?
Welcome to be your best self health chats, weekly casual conversations about taking health into your own hands. I’m your host Kristin Longacre.
It’s everybody’s favorite, or maybe at least favorite time of the year, back to school, or kids back in school yet, as we’re getting back into the swing of things over here, social media has reminded me of something that many parents like to pretend doesn’t happen during the summer.
That is making lunches you know, suddenly you start to see everybody making their fancy Pinterest lunches, they’re cutting all kinds of sandwiches into little shapes, the fruit has little eyes, you know, all that fun stuff.
Then there’s maybe you, I don’t know if you can relate, but I’ve been there. I’m still there some days.
As a busy mom, it’s easy to let making lunch fall to the wayside. And add in the possibility but picky eaters, and some days, it really feels impossible to live up to those Pinterest mom expectations.
I mean, in kindergarten, I got called out because the first week of school, little man’s best friend got notes in his lunch and he didn’t. They couldn’t even read yet, you guys. So when it comes to making lunch, I totally understand if you’re kind of over it and less than a week into school.
However, when you spend a little bit of time planning and have a better understanding of how food can play a part in your kid’s success at school, that lunchbox actually becomes one of the most important parts of your day.
Research has shown time and time again that a nutrient-dense lunch can be the difference between kids being able to focus and having success in the classroom in the afternoon, or acting out or maybe even falling asleep. Think about how your own afternoon goes.
For example, maybe you have a turkey sandwich with chips for lunch. Do you crash in the afternoon? How long does that energy go? Now, what if you eat a more balanced lunch? Maybe turkey me on an open sandwich or using one slice of bread? carrot sticks dipped in hummus and an apple? How much longer would you make it before you needed to snack or that six cup of coffee for the day?
Think about it. Why should we expect kids to get through the afternoon on an incredible in the juice box when if we ate the adult sized version, we wouldn’t make it either.
Kid’s bodies do not need a full five-course meal to function. However, they do need a good balance of carbs, proteins and fats to give them the energy they need. As a whole school lunches have come a really long way. However, due to budgets, some things are still not quite up to a healthy standard. For example, while they are required to give some kind of fruit in their lunch, that could be something as simple as including tomato paste in spaghetti sauce, or the juice box that served on the tray as well.
That counts as the fruit. It’s better than nothing. But we do have some work to do when it comes to school lunches.
I would never discourage kids from purchasing lunch from school.
In our family, little man buys two to three days a week and then two to three days a week. He says I won’t touch that with a 10 foot pole because I’m a picky eater. So I’m going to bring my own lunch. If your kid does prefer to bring their own lunch, let’s talk about how to make it a little bit healthier than that uncrustables my number one piece of advice before you get to packing lunches is make sure you know the requirements of your school.
Some schools will require food that is brought in to meet those government standards. It will vary from state to state county to county, but if you’re going to pack a lunch, make sure you’re covering all of your bases. I learned this one the hard way when B was little I had to make sure he had a fourth of a cup of fruit fourth of a cup of vegetables and a protein in his lunch every single day or else they wouldn’t be able to feed it to him.
If you are free to provide whatever you want for lunch, here’s how I would recommend breaking it down.
One meat or a nut butter for protein, one fruit, one vegetable, some form of healthy fat in rounded out with pretzels crackers or whole grain bread, you know so they can crunch on something.
This might seem like a lot of food. When you consider that kids only have 15 minutes to eat. Usually, it’s important to give them options. That makes the most use of their time.
Let’s be honest, we know at least 13 of those 15 minutes probably go to talking to their friends. So by providing little options with smaller portions, there’s a good chance they’re going to get more nutrients in their body. When it comes to drinks, juice boxes can be an easy go to, but they’re not necessarily what’s going to set your kid up for success in the afternoon.
If your kids are not a fan of drinking water, I would encourage you to try to switch their juice boxes to a flavored water, it will give them a little less sugar, therefore they’ll have less of an afternoon crash, and it’ll hydrate them better for the afternoon. Milk is a good option if they’re purchasing lunch because it’ll fill them up. If that’s what they decide to take in a thermos, that’s okay, too.
As I mentioned, what kids eat for lunch can play a crucial role on how their afternoon goes, I get the ease and uncrossable. But I do recommend having conversations with your kids about what they would enjoy in their lunch. Maybe they aren’t all that excited about the incredible. Maybe they would get excited in planning their lunches too.
That might even make it easier for them to eat that fruit or vegetable. Now does the idea of spending less time making a more nutritious lunch for your kids sound like something you would like to learn a little bit more about? We just covered the basics here.
Good news. Today I am launching my course called kids eat quick where you can learn the secret to make a balanced lunch that even picky eaters will get excited about. I know as a busy mom, you don’t have a ton of time to sit in front of a computer and learn.
So I made sure you can get through the entire course in 30 minutes or less. And you can even do it in little bits of downtime here and there. Or while you’re in the pickup line for school.
f you’re curious, visit kidseatquick.com for more information. I hope you’ll at least get a basic understanding of lunchboxes today, but I would love to dig in further with you. To see all of the notes from today or share any of your thoughts please visit podcast at best self health coaching comm Make sure to subscribe to our podcast so you can get our weekly chats directly on your favorite app.
We’ll be back next Tuesday.
Hey There, I’m Kristin! I have a strong passion for helping women make small changes in their everyday lives that add up to the healthy life they desire. Whether it’s a mom looking to find her confidence or a family who needs help making changes in the kitchen I believe every health goal can be accomplished.