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How to Pack a Week’s Worth of Healthy Lunches Your Kids are Sure to Love

My oldest recently started school.  I went back and forth on homeschooling her. Last year we even tried it out for a few months before I took a full time position and returned to work (after staying home for 5 years).  I knew I wanted to be involved in as many ways as possible with her school experience.  So naturally, I decided to take on the role of Nightly Lunch Box Chef!  By being involved in preparing and packaging lunch for my kids, I like to think I play a crucial role in helping make their days be successful ones, particularly at school.  I also find that by packing lunches I have more control over their food choices {see also – when my daughter came  home on the first day of school raving about the free chocolate milk – which is probably not organic – if you know me you know that’s a huge release in control right there}. I love that my evening routine now includes preparing healthy lunches for my kids.

How To Pack a Week's Worth of Healthy Lunches Your Kids Are Sure to Love | North Phoenix Moms Blog

Thanks to PlanetBox for sending a Rover Box and accompanying carry bag. The carry bag fits the Rover Box, a water bottle and big dipper in the external pocket. The Rover Box allows me to pack a variety of foods in a portion suggested space, which helps A LOT when meal planning. I loved this box so much I bought another for my younger daughter!

I start off every lunch with a main entree: this can be a nut free sandwich like sunflower seed butter and jelly, or left over quesadillas from dinner the night before.  Whatever it is, I like to find something I know they will eat and is filling.  Then, I build the rest of the lunch around that. The Rover Box has compartments to keep everything separated and sauces contained.  I am not fan of wasteful packaging and plastic, so I like that everything goes into one box: less parts for my kids to lose and only one item for me to remember to grab from the fridge in the morning (at 6:30 am you can understand my lack of memory).  Each compartment helps remind me to try and include a fruit, a vegetable, a protein or dairy item, and a snack (usually of their choice), and of course healthy fats like avocado because their brains need them to function well in school.  Then, the small center spot, is ideal for a tiny piece of candy or mint.  I pack their daily fruit chew vitamins in that spot (because, I’m tricky like that).

Below is a sample menu plan for one week of healthy lunches, with an additional bonus lunch!

Day One

This meal includes pre-made butternut squash ravioli with a rosemary butter sauce for the main entree, a caprese (tomato, mozzarella, basil)  side salad, blueberries and apple for fruit, and pretzels and hummus for kids’ snack choice.

Day Two

Left over box includes fried rice and egg roll from 2 nights before, along with a piece of veggie sushi from the night before, side of soy sauce, and blackberries for the fruit.

Day Three

I let the kids help pack this lunch and I made cucumber cream cheese rolls, snap peas for veggies, strawberries for the fruit, and yogurt pretzels for the kids’ choice snack.

Day Four

This meal is black bean and cheddar quesadilla slices for the main item, carrots for the vegetable, blackberries for the fruit, and avocado for healthy fats, which is so important for brain development.

Day Five

This box includes a home made mini pizza made from english muffin and marinara sauce topped with mozzarella balls and basil, side of caprese skewers on top, strawberries and blueberries for the fruit, and cheddar bunnies snack mix for kids’ snack choice.

Day Six

Last but not least, this box features a half of a sunflower seed butter (no nuts allowed at school) and jelly sandwich, side of string cheese for kids’ choice, carrots and edamame for veggies, and a half banana for fruit.

Each one completed with a pair of multi-vitamin fruit chews for ‘dessert.’

If all else fails, just remember healthy lunches don’t have to be fancy.  They can be whatever you have in the fridge: carrots you didn’t finish earlier in the week, that carton of strawberries that were on sale this week, or even local produce the kids picked out at the farmer’s market – I’m looking at you snap peas.  Sometimes, I’ll just add the left overs from the night before (like the fried rice and egg roll pictured in this post).  Sometimes, I let the kids have more creative input like yogurt pretzels and cucumber cream cheese rolls (also pictured in this post)- not a lot (if any) protein there, but hey they’re happy they helped!  I will say, I do make it a point to buy lunch box filler items like string cheese, crackers and vitamins.  It helps to have a few pre-made items lying around in case life gets busy: hard boiled eggs are a great source of protein, edamame beans are good to fill space too.  It’s just about thinking about what is most nutrient dense and also something your kids will eat!

Happy healthy lunch packing parents, you got this!

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