5 Healthier Options for Your Children’s New Lunch Box. We are officially in back-to-school season, and to be honest, I don’t know where the summer went!
I will also admit that prior to 2020, the bane of my existence was the “no thanks table” at my oldest daughter’s school. The spirit of this table was beautiful – kids could leave anything they didn’t want from their cafeteria lunch on the table, and other kids could take whatever they wanted.
Children’s New Lunch Box
The challenge is that the quality of the food at that table wasn’t great – lots of processed and high-sugar foods. Asking a 7-year-old to use the willpower to walk with such a threat-free table and not grab onto anything is a tall order.
That’s a tall order for most adults I know! She couldn’t resist the temptation and we had behavioural and health side effects as a result. Now, however, most schools refuse to serve meals to children, and the “no thanks table” no longer exists. That means no more junk, sugary, or other processed foods to tempt her to eat that she knows don’t feel good.
Read Also: Now Handle Social Events When Your Children Food Restrictions
We hear from parents all the time how difficult it can be to feed their children healthy, nutritious food in social situations such as school. It’s a tough balance: convenience, portability, health, & of course, taste.
Also, you don’t want your kids to be ostracized for eating the “weird” healthy lunch, but you also don’t want them to be made excuses for eating unhealthy or processed foods. I don’t believe it should be too complicated.
5 Healthier Options for Your Children’s New Lunch Box
There’s no reason why babies can’t eat raw, too. Oh, and if you think this post is just for parents, keep reading. Real, raw foods apply to all ages!
1). Skip the juice box. No matter what the outside of that juice box says, it’s just liquid sugar. Yes, even if it’s “organic” or “not from concentrate”. How about good old-fashioned water? Or maybe some coconut water (diluted, preferably).
If you must juice, juice yourself from one orange in a reusable water bottle (yes, a single orange) and fill the rest of the bottle with water.
2) Opt for fresh fruit over cookies. Yes, kids definitely love something sweet with their lunch, but that doesn’t mean it has to be sweet. Some fruits do the trick with the occasional sweet treat – ideally homemade so you’re in charge of the ingredients.
Make baking an afternoon activity you do together and include them in the process! Better yet, don’t add anything sweet. Save a piece of fruit for after school as a reward for eating all their lunches.
3) Use shredded leftover meat instead of deli meat. Deli meats contain preservatives, and nitrates and are high in sodium. Some also contain gluten and sugar, usually in the form of dextrose). Your best bet is to make a little extra for dinner, cut it up and use it in a sandwich the next day.
Thinly sliced grass-fed steak, shredded chicken, or a bit of salmon combined with plain yoghurt, lemon, some dill, and sea salt make excellent and very tasty sandwich fillers.
4) Skip the chips. Instead of chips, pretzels or crackers (all of which are highly processed, even when they’re organic or gluten-free), opt for air-popped popcorn for snacks. You can easily make it yourself and add some flavours to make it special.
Our favourite way to enjoy popcorn is with grass-fed butter and a healthy dash of licks. Another alternative to crunchy is seaweed. Crispy snack-sized seaweed can be found in most stores these days. Just make sure there’s no canola oil, sugar, or unnecessary ingredients.
5) Use real food! The key rule in all of this is to use real food options instead of their processed counterparts. Forget “string” cheese – just slice up some good quality organic (preferably raw) cheese. Flavoured yoghurt pop? No – just use some organic plain yoghurt and add your own flavour: some mashed fruit or homemade jam will do the trick.
We like to use a dollop of jaggery. Don’t shy away from healthy vegetables either. They’re great with any meal and their health benefits are off the charts. We add cultured vegetables to both of our kids’ lunches almost every day.
And for those of you who want to go all the way – a bonus: make your own condiments. Spices are the “final frontier” for many people in raw food. We can wrap our minds around making dinner, but making mustard or mayo? It’s crazy! Here’s the thing:
Almost without exception (good quality mustard is one exception) condiments are loaded with rancid oil, added sodium, unnecessary sweeteners, and chemical preservatives and flavourings. Not so bare. But who wants to go to the lengths of making them at home if they’re going to go bad after a week or two in the fridge?
We use traditional fermentation techniques to preserve and enhance the nutritional value of any spices – which means you can make a spice once, and it lasts for months, not weeks. Now that’s a better return on investment! Check out this great technique here.