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Healthy lunch or snack to go with tortilla wraps, eggs, cottage cheese, fruits and vegetables

Healthy Lunch Boxes

It is almost back to school time! As we gather school supplies, new uniforms, and stylish shoes let’s not forget about healthy lunches. A healthy lunch ensures students have the nutrition they need to learn throughout the day. It can help boost concentration and improve one’s attitude. 

First, you need the right packing accessories. When buying a lunch box, look for insulation and ensure easy access for your child. Size is also important. If you plan on using a certain thermos or packing bottled water you want to make sure it will fit. You also want to make sure it is an easy material to clean, as kids can be messy.

Next, you want to make sure to keep foods fresh and safe. You want to make sure cold foods stay cold by using ice packs. Using a thermos can keep hot foods hot. To keep your thermos warm, fill it with boiling water, close the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes. Drain the water, wipe dry and immediately place hot food into the thermos.



Now it’s time to decide on what to pack! Healthy suggestions include: fresh fruit; crunchy vegetables; proteins such as turkey, hardboiled eggs, or peanut butter; dairy such as milk, yogurt, or a cheese stick; and a starch like bread or crackers. You can also add fruit & veggie dips. Good beverage choices include water, 100% juice boxes, or milk. 

The key to success is planning ahead. Take some time on weekends to cut up fruits & vegetables. Utilize leftovers also. Remember to involve your child in the prepping and packing!

Try these ideas:



  • “Lunchable” on a stick: Place turkey, cheddar cubes and even pepperoni or salami on a toothpick.
  • Green Monster: Make everything in the box Green!  Kiwis, grapes, avocado, pasta with pesto.
  • Taco Tuesday: wrap your favorites in a burrito! Turkey and cheese with guacamole is a favorite in our house.
  • Nachos: pack all the topping to make an easy DIY meal: ground turkey, lettuce, shredded cheese, avocado.
  • Chicken dippers: pack a favorite dip such as ranch or even a healthier pesto. Bonus points if the veggie you choose can be dipped as well!

Ingredients

Protein: turkey, ham, pepperoni, eggs, peanut butter 

Dairy: yogurt, cheese cubes or sticks

Fruit and Veggies: carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, grapes, apples, fresh berries



Starch: crackers, bread, pitas, pretzel sticks

Something fun: M&M’s, chocolate chips, yogurt covered raisins or pretzels

Directions

STEP 1
Select an item (or two) from each ingredient section to be sure you have a balanced box!



STEP 2
Make sure each item is bite-sized.

STEP 3
Get creative! Include items your child is familiar with and enjoys eating.

Tips:

  • Use fun cookie cutters to make shapes, such as stars.
  • Individual cupcake liners work great to hold smaller food items such as sweet treats or granola.
  • Use fun picks with dinosaurs or stars to hold items together.