Some might say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but lunch is pretty dang important in my book too.
Since it is the meal smack dab in the middle of the day, it is responsible for refueling you and making sure your body has all the nutrients it needs keep you going all afternoon. I don’t know about you, but I notice that the days that I skip lunch or opt for carb heavy mid-day meal are definitely not my most productive days.
Same goes for kids! Your child needs a truly nutrient-dense lunch so that their brains have all the vitamins and minerals the brain needs to absorb and retain information. And if they are involved in after school activities, that lunch is key for helping them get the most out of their time spent there! Yet, packing a healthy lunch that really fuels you or your child up and powers you on through the rest of your day can be really tricky.
1. Pack Fruits & Veggies First. Whatever we serve ourselves first in a meal tends to be the item we take the most of. So, when packing a lunch to-go, make sure the things you pack the most of are the most important food groups: fruits and veggies! I love to load up our family lunch boxes with carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, snow peas, sliced cucumbers, apples, oranges and all sorts of easy grab-and-go produce that is delicious raw!
2. Pack Variety. You know that old saying “variety is the spice of life.”? Well, it’s true when it comes to lunch boxes too. Whether it is for you or for your child, make sure to pack multiple options so there are no “blah” feelings when lunch time rolls around. I love using mason jars for my lunches and bento lunch boxes work great for my young daughter’s lunch box. I just fill each jar/compartment with a different food so we all have lots of pick from when lunch time rolls around and don’t feel stuck eating something we don’t want (or worse, skip eating all together).
3. Don’t Forget The Protein. Protein is such an important part of any balanced meal, but all too often gets left out of the lunch equation. Protein is vital for tissue repair and muscle growth (I’m thinking especially of those growing and learning brains in school age kiddos). It also helps keep you full longer and is wonderful for helping to maintain blood sugar levels. So, making sure you include healthy protein in your lunches is a must in my book. Some healthy proteins I like to include in our family lunches are raw nuts, bean dips, seeds, nut/seed butters, wild caught canned tuna & salmon, and shredded meats. All are wonderful cold and are excellent sources of protein.
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