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Pack a Special (and Healthy) Back to School Lunch

Its time for school to start back!  Here where I am school doesn’t start for a few more weeks (after labor day) but schools all around me are already in full swing.   And one thing is for sure, school supplies, backpacks and lunch boxes are on everyone’s brains that have school-aged children.  But, while you’re busy packing backpacks for the first day of school, don’t forget to pick up some healthy items for school lunches and/or snacks.

I don’t have a child that is ready to go to school just yet, but I myself am a school teacher and I don’t mind telling you that I am less than enthused with the meal choices that are in our school systems here in the U.S. I don’t serve my child processed chicken nuggets or corndogs at home so I certainly don’t want that to be the meal he is served away from home.  So, unless things change in the next couple of years I will be joining the ranks of the parents who pack a lunch for their children on most school days.

Although I don’t pack a lunch for my son for school, I do have to pack a lunch for him on days I go to work at the school to make things easy for my dear old dad who watches Judah when I am gone. Here’s the lunch I packed today just for fun to give you an idea of what my son’s lunches look like. This lunch includes a grilled cheese sandwich made with Rudi’s Bakery Nut Oat bread and Horizon sliced cheese.  It also has a “fruit kebab” with organic strawberries and grapes, some pretzels, some Great Value dried cherries (my son thinks these are candy, Yokids organic yogurt, and Late July organic mini sandwich cookies (our favorite treat!).  The juice box is a coconut water fruit punch juice box.

To make the sandwich I used a handy gadget that I picked up from Pampered Chef that makes sandwiches just like the ones Smuckers has in the freezer section.  It seals up the edges and hides the filling inside.  I also use this press to make my own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like theirs – but mine are filled with organic peanut butter and jelly and are made with organic nut and oat bread. (:  This time I put cheese between the bread and pressed the sandwich.  Then, I grilled it before sliding it into the lunch box.  I also like to use my lunch punches that have fun shapes for sandwiches (my favorite is the one that makes the sandwich look like 4 puzzle pieces that all fit together!).  Other ways to make lunches fun are to punch out the middle with a cookie cutter (like the first letter of your child’s name or their favorite animal.  I like to use small cookie cutters to cut shapes out of cheese for stacking on crackers or pretzels too!

There are lots of healthy foods that I like to use for lunches.   Here are a few of my favorites that I happen to have on hand right now:

Fresh fruit like organic grapes, organic strawberries, bananas, salads and veggies and dip like organic baby carrots and homemade ranch, dried fruits, yogurt covered raisins, peanut butter (there are lots of yummy varieties like Peanut Butter and Co’s white chocolate, Skippy Naturals, and Nutella) with apples, pretzels, crackers, or sandwiches, Annie’s fruit snacks (they don’t have food dyes), Annie’s mac and cheese (heated and placed in a thermos), dried cereal, freeze dried fruit like Fruit Crisps, I also like Laughing Cow’s baby swiss cheese wedges with pretzels or crackers, mandarin oranges,  Apple & Eve’s organic fruit juice boxes, and Yokids and Yobaby organic yogurt.  Of course, these are in addition to leftovers that make great lunches too!

What are some of your favorite things to put in your kiddo’s lunch boxes?

I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation for my time on this post.  Participation in this program is voluntary.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

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  1. How cute – you have some great tips! Mine still gets a school lunch through daycare so I haven’t had to pack one yet. I like the fun cutouts!

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