When I tell people my family is gluten-free, one of the first questions I get asked is what in the world I feed them for lunch.
In fact, the key to making healthy, sandwich-free lunches is 5 easy steps:
Step 1: Protein
A good protein source is a must. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues and to produce enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. Protein is crucial to your body’s overall function! (source)
Ideas for school-lunch protein sources:
- cooked beans
- canned fish, like tuna or salmon
- eggs (hard boiled, deviled, scrambled or egg salad)
- nitrite/nitrate-free lunch meats, rolled up
- shredded chicken
- cheese slices
- nuts (if your school allows them)
Step 2: Veggie
Vegetables contain the important vitamins and minerals that your growing child needs to function.
Pack one to two vegetable sources for a healthy, sandwich-free lunch.
Ideas for school-lunch veggie sources:
- carrot sticks
- celery sticks
- cucumber slices
- cherry tomatoes
- snap peas
- broccoli or cauliflower
Step 3: Fruit
Ditch the processed sugar and let naturally-sweet fruit be your child’s dessert.
Ideas for school-lunch fruit sources:
- clementine orange
- mango slices
Step 4: Drink
Hydration is crucial to a successful school day, but don’t give in to packing sugar-laden juices. We reserve juice boxes to special occasions.
Ideas for school-lunch drinks:
Step 5: Make it Fun!
Don’t forget to make lunch fun.
Include dips for the fruits and veggies, cut the meat and cheese into fun shapes and even make “sandwiches” using produce, like cucumber slices or lettuce leaves, instead of bread. And package them in a fun reusable bag.
How do you help your kids learn to make healthy choices?