Packing lunch for school is a delicate balancing act. Of course, I want my children’s lunches to be healthy, but given the time crunch of a typical lunch period, they often don’t even have time to peel an orange or eat a whole apple. I also have to consider what produce they will actually eat when I am not there to “encourage” them. Aside from their time, there’s my time to consider. What is nutritious and delicious but doesn’t take me a whole Sunday afternoon or a whole precious weeknight hour to prepare?
Luckily, the Whole Foods Market has plenty of tools to make packed lunches simple, fast, healthy, and delicious so everyone is happy and satisfied. Here are a few ideas to get your back-to-school lunch packing off to a great start.
Upgrade Your PBJ. I have one child who could eat peanut butter and jelly every single day. The other two turn their noses up at it every single time it’s offered. That is, until we discovered Whole Foods Market fresh ground honey roasted peanut butter. It is amazing. Add it to one of their many jam and jelly choices, and lunch is ready in no time. What if your school is peanut-free? Grind your own almond butter instead, or choose from one of their many other nut butter and nut-free options.
Soup it up. It may be summer now, but one day very soon, a hot lunch is going to hit the spot. If you haven’t discovered it yet, an insulated food jar (such as a Funtainer) is a valuable tool to have in your lunch cabinet. Heated properly, it can keep soup, leftovers, mac-n-cheese, and all types of hot foods at a safe temperature until lunchtime. My kids love soup, and the endless varieties available at Whole Foods Market means soup takes minutes to prepare instead of hours. Toss in a few leftover veggies or chicken, and lunch is done.
Behold the bean. Beans are another delicious option to keep warm in your thermal food jar. With their super-packed nutrition and protein, they will keep kids satisfied all afternoon too. Our favorite way to lunch on beans is nachos. Fill your thermos with refried beans and top with cheese. Send along a container of tortilla or pita chips to dip and a leak-proof container of salsa.
Snack well. Some of the most loved lunches at our house are simply a collection of delicious snacks that are fun to eat. One favorite combination is uncured pepperoni, fresh cheese, and crackers. Another option is hummus with crostini. And what is a snack without a little chocolate? I like to include a sweet treat with something like Made Good Chocolate Banana Granola Minis or a 365 Everyday Value Brand Organic Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Bar.
Fast and fun fruits. While I try to include a fresh fruit or vegetable with every meal, the rush of lunch means that sometimes my kids don’t quite get to it. Somehow, a fruit snack or roll is sure to disappear. The Whole Foods Market has plenty of options to choose from, including individually packaged 365 Organic Fruit Strips, Annie’s HomeGrown Really Peely Fruit Tape, and many more.
Back-to-school may be stressful, but don’t let lunch be! With a visit to Whole Foods Market, it is easy to stock your refrigerator and pantry with good-for-you foods that your kids will love.