It is hard to fathom that the summer has flown by so fast. All of my grandchildren are headed back to school, from the college-aged grandson who has already returned to the university, to the four younger grandkids who range from 4th to 7th grades.
As I thought about them today and chatted with several of the kids, I decided to dedicate tonight’s blog post to school lunches. The four younger kids take their lunches to school most of the time. I understand why. I join my grandchildren for lunches throughout the school year and I’ve seen what’s offered for lunch. I also see how much food gets dumped into the trash cans.
Healthy eating has become near and dear to my heart. I’d love to see healthier, more colorful foods and more fruit and veggie options offered to growing, active kids. Even if the children in your family are not plant based, here are some great suggestions for upping the nutritional value in school lunches, that children will eat and enjoy.
1. Apple slices, no sugar/low sugar nut butter, celery sticks, seedless red grapes.
2. Hummus, gluten free crackers, fresh strawberries and blueberries.
3. Gluten free pasta with black olives, carrots sticks, and strawberries (from Fork & Beans)
4. Silly face wraps – hummus and fresh veggies in a gluten free wrap. (from Fork & Beans)
5. Fresh fruit salad – mix of bananas, grapes, and orange slices – on lettuce bed, gluten free crackers, 3 ingredient chocolate cookie. (See recipe HERE)
6. Mixed fruit, plant power bar, celery sticks with nut butter and raisins, veggie sticks with hummus. (22 Days Nutrition)
7. Hummus, celery & carrot sticks, tangerine & dried blueberries, nut butter & banana roll ups, dark chocolate chips sweetened with stevia. (from Veggies Don’t Bite)
8. Sprouts, apple sliced, dates, gluten free crackers
9. Meal in a bowl – this can combine rice or quinoa with favorite veggies – red grapes.
This veggie bowl contains fresh greens, chickpeas and cooked sweet potato chunks.
You don’t have to pack totally plant based meals for the kids, every school day. However, try including favorite fruits, cups of unsweetened applesauce, dried fruit, or nuts in place of sugary treats, as a start. And you might just be surprised at how adaptable kids are. Get them involved in coming up with lunch ideas and helping to create and pack their lunch boxes.
My grandkids and the other grands in my extended family are observant and curious about my plant based diet. They ask questions. They try new things. They are open to eating more fruits and veggies and a couple of them gravitate naturally toward a plant based diet.
The benefits of eating more fresh whole foods will extend far beyond these kids’ school days. Better health, as young adults and beyond, begins now.