Monday, August 15, 2011

School Lunches - Pass or Fail?

It's that time again - getting kids up early, fed, organized and off to school before 8am.  Perhaps I am in the minority (hopefully not!), but I absolutely cherish the time I have with my kiddos during summer and holiday breaks.  We have days and days of leisurely schedules, late-night talks, lazy breakfasts (or brunch, depending just how leisurely we take the morning...hey, it's summer!) and good times.

Now, however, the time is upon us to get serious about life again and serious about feeding our children brain food - the type of food that will nourish their bodies and mind for the rigors of school and after-school sports.

For some of you, this will be a new adventure - eating for your health instead of mindless eating - and you may have lots of questions (contact me with those questions!) - but for some of you, it will be a quick reminder that although you have changed the way you eat over the summer, it's now time to think of your children as well!  We search for the best for our children when it comes to many aspects of their lives, but how much time and effort do we put into the most important aspect of their life - the food we provide them for optimal health??

It's easier than you think to provide nourishing and complete lunches for them without needing to resort to the school lunches that are loaded with additives, preservatives, artificial flavorings, trans-fats, excess sodium and sugars that contribute to serious health implications like obesity and diabetes. Yes, I realize there's convenience to purchasing school lunches - but at the cost to your child's health??
They are completely at your mercy!

Some basics for school lunches:

1. Protein -(necessary for muscle/tissue growth and repair and brain nourishing!)
chicken, beef, eggs, salmon, tuna

2.  Carbohydrates - (we're not talking about breads, pastas, potatoes that are pro-inflammatory and insulin inducing)
carrot sticks, broccoli, cucumber, tomatoes, apples, bananas, oranges, berries

3.  Healthy Fats (disregard the ridiculous low-fat recommendations.  Children need healthy sources of fat for brain growth and function, sustained energy, and nutrient absorption.)
avocado/guacamole, nuts like macadamia, coconut products(unsweetened), olive oil

When packing a lunch, pick one from each list and you have a complete and balanced meal that will be building blocks of health for the rest of their lives.

Pack the lunch - or better yet, have THEM pack their lunch, the night before.  It will eliminate rushing and choosing convenience foods that are filled with empty calories and do not sustain energy levels.

Pick some cool compartment lunch boxes that the kids will want to fill up like the one here and here.  Or, if you are on a budget, you can find compartment containers at Walmart, Target or even your grocery store!

Below are some pictures to give you some lunch ideas from our past lunches.


chicken, broccoli, applesauce, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, nuts/seeds

"deviled" eggs, jicama, apples, nutty "cereal"

leftover spaghetti squash with ground beef sauce, snap peas, sweet potato mash w/ raisins and cinnamon

hard boiled eggs, banana, asparagus, shredded coconut pudding

leftover roast beef, carrots, egg/banana bread (gluten/sugar/grain free)

photos courtesy of everydaypaleo/primalkitchen


  1. Great ideas, Maria! Thanks!!

  2. You're welcome, Julee! How's the baby? :)

  3. Yum, love these ideas! BTW: What's in the top photo?

  4. Thank you Trixie! Top photo: pulled chicken and a variety of fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds. :)