With the busy morning rush to get everyone ready for work and school, sometime getting anything packed for lunch is no small feat for the day. And if you’re like many busy moms, you resort to packing the same things for yourself and your kids, over and over again. But a little planning and few quick and easy ideas like these can make packing lunches a whole lot simpler for you to provide everyone a lunch that’s better tasting and better for them.
Whole and wholesome – Look to add fresh, whole foods into lunches.
• Nuts – Nuts provide healthy fats, fiber and important nutrients. Measure out individual servings of almonds, walnuts, pecans, or cashews, and keep them on hand so you can toss them in a lunch bag.
• Fruits and veggies – You can always grab an apple or banana, but what about expanding your produce palate? Try packing snap peas with hummus; frozen grapes and kiwi chunks; grapefruit and orange segments with coconut flakes; or tomato and cucumber slices drizzled with a teaspoon of olive oil and a splash of lime juice.
• Protein – Lean poultry, lowfat cottage cheese and tofu are good sources of protein. Eggs have protein, too – try jazzing up a hard-boiled egg with a little lemon pepper, or even chili flakes.
Better-for-you on-the-go – It can be hard to make wise food choices when you’re in a hurry. Stock up on items that take prep time off your hands.
• Yummy yogurt – An easy way to eat right at lunch or on the go, yogurt is also a smart way to get protein and calcium into your day. For example, new Müller Corner varieties have convenient two-chamber containers that are easy to handle, and feature slightly sweetened lowfat yogurt paired with delicious fruit toppings or crunchy cereal mix-ins. All are made from reduced-fat, Grade A milk. For more information, visit www.mullerquaker.com.
• Pre-sliced and diced – Check your grocery store for snack-sized bags of pre-sliced cheese or crunchy pretzels. You can toss one into lunch bags or keep some at your desk for a quick afternoon pick-me-up.
DIY foods – You can find healthier recipes for just about any of your favorite lunch sides.
• Mix it up – Make your own trail mix or homemade granola. Pre-portion it into zip-top bags or single serving storage containers so you don’t overdo it.
• Make it crunchy – For a lower fat, nutritious and delicious crunchy snack, bake your own apple, sweet potato, kale or beet chips – they’ll have fewer calories, less fat, and a lot more nutrition packed into each crunchy bite.
• Spice it up – Herbs and spices add a ton of flavor and their own nutritional value to all kinds of delicious treats. You can find recipes for spiced nuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, and seasoned popcorn, all of which make lunch time something to look forward to.