Building and Packing a Healthy School Lunch (ages 3-10)

BUILDING AND PACKING A HEALTHY SCHOOL LUNCH (AGES 3-10)

Hey Parents! So you’ve had a little break from packing your kids’ school lunches… but admit it, you’ve kind of missed it, right? Yes? Just a little? Well… I’ll confess that I’m actually quite excited about getting into the school lunch packing routine again even though I’ve packed 3,510 (no joke!) school lunches for my kids over the years… and one of my kids isn’t even in kindergarten yet! So much lunch-packing fun still ahead over here chez Reilly.

In Episode 9 of the Delish and Healthyish Podcast, Corinne and I give our tips for packing healthy school lunches for younger kids. You can listen here:

Next week in Episode 10, we’ll tackle lunches for big kids and grown-ups. But first! Here are our tips for younger kid lunches summarized:

1. Bake something with your kids that shows up in their lunch. They’re more likely to eat it, love it, and brag about it. Stay tuned for our 3-Step Weekend Prep E-Guide for a scrumptious apple muffin recipe which fits perfectly into a healthy kid lunch.

2. Build lunches from the 5 categories: fruit, veggie, protein, carby-snack-granola bar-type thing, and dessert. Make a list of which foods fit into each category, paste the list on your kitchen wall, and let your kids choose or even make their own lunches with the 5 magical components. Here are some examples:

* Unsweetened applesauce (pre-packaged) + cherry tomatoes + PB&J half sandwich + mini chocolate cupcake (don’t forget the applesauce spoon!)

* Blueberries + baby carrots + hummus + crackers + 2 brownie bites

* Grapes + fresh green beans + Larabar mini + edamame beans + apple muffin

* Watermelon chunks + bell pepper slices + Kite Hill Greek yogurt + individual bag of Skinny Pop + small handful chocolate chips

3. Use containers that have multiple compartments with 1 lid and use silicone muffin cups to further divide the big sections. Avoid lots of little Tupperware in various sizes — tops get lost, they don’t stack well, and who has time to wash all those little pieces every night?! Here are our favorite containers:

Bento Lunch Box by Lucentee: 3 compartments; pack of 7 with different colored lids for $16; Beware that they are NOT leak proof, so only use packaged items or solid items in these. Medium-sized compartment fits an individual applesauce container. Size is 9” x 6” x 2” total.

Easy Lunch Boxes 4-compartment snack box: Meant for snacks, but perfect for preschool lunches. Pack of 4 containers for $13. Size is 6” x 6” x 2” total. Again not leak-proof, so contain yogurt or applesauce within the compartments or toss those in separately.

* Hot lunch 10-ounce Thermos. Use this when it’s cold out and you want to send something warm like lentil soup, veggie chili, mac and cheese, pasta or smart dogs. Then, toss additional lunch items in ziplocks or a smaller container.

4. Mass produce as much as possible on the weekends or Monday night. You can pre-chop veggies, make mini muffins or little cookies, portion out hummus into condiment containers, or my favorite mass production activity which is a 4-loaf-of-bread sandwich making undertaking and freezing them in half-sandwich portions. Use snack-size ziplocks and make a zillion peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, Don’t Go Nuts chocolate soybean spread, and cream cheese half sandwiches to freeze. Pull them out the morning of or night before–they only take about an hour to thaw out.

5. Send a sweet note in their lunchbox. If you don’t have time to write something, check out these cute notes to keep on hand.

And our best tip yet… get those lunches packed at night! This will free you up in the morning for a walk, or even just save you from screaming “WAIT!! I haven’t packed your lunch yet!!” Tune in next week for more tips for middle school, high school, and adult lunches.

In colorful lunches and of course BPA-free plastic,

Jen & Corinne

Feeding Picky Kids: Tips and a New Podcast

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Before having kids, I was an expert dietitian on feeding picky kids… or at least I thought I was! “Keep trying, offer them ONLY healthy things and they’ll have no choice but to eat the good stuff, they just WON’T go hungry, and all kids eventually love asparagus…” Did I really say all that? Thank gosh the universe gave me 4 kids to put me in my place. For real. Check out this week’s Healthyish podcast episode on Feeding Picky Kids (Episode 4) where Corinne and I share our picky kid tips for making it through the meal without eyebrow-smeared peas and half the meal shoved under the chair cushions. Plus, Corinne talks about her love affair with her new monster mini muffin tin found here which may revolutionize baking in your household.

We share tips on leading by example, deconstructing meals for the whole fam, offering multiple veggies, and keeping healthy alternatives on hand for when you just have to give in. Here’s one more tip for feeding dinner to picky kids that we didn’t mention on the podcast, and it’s actually one of my favorites!:

No Food After 3:01 PM

Yes, they’re hungry and cranky, so feed them at 3PM, but no later. That 3PM snack can be crackers, cheese, hummus, a granola bar, whatever, but it must be done by 3:01. Do whatever you can to distract them, just drink liquids, or maybe chow on some apple slices or grapes between 3:01 and 6:00 so that they actually show up to the table in need of calories. Doesn’t everything taste better when you’re starving? I didn’t eat lunch until 2PM today and I couldn’t be bothered to heat it up, so I had cold veggie chili. I kid you not, the best meal I’ve eaten in my whole life. See?

Share your favorite picky kid tips in the comments below and let us know what you want to hear in future episodes!

In deconstructed cherry tomatoes,

Jen & Corinne

Bitchin’ Dietitian Gets a Family-Friendly Facelift

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Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Hello friends, family and fabulous followers!

So I thought this might happen… My kids are now 4, 8, 10, and 12 and they can’t tell their friends (or their friends’ parents, or even whisper to their friends’ dogs) the name of my blog. I’ve heard them try… “My mom has a blog and it’s witchin’ dietitan with a B… you know THE B WORD… DOT COM.” Oops.

This was a non-ish pre-marriage, pre-kids and pre-PTA. But, while I’m attached and will always keep (and be) BitchinDietitian.com, it’s time for a facelift, a refresh, and a family-friendly front that my kids can actually talk about. Plus, now that I have 12+ years of parenting, family meal planning, picky kid thwarting and meal hacks under my belt (if I could only count the number of lunches I’ve packed! and the ones I’ve thrown out too, boo.), I’m ready to share my learnings, my tricks and why it is all delicious and laughable.

So, look forward to lots of electrifying newness ahead… Delish recipe booklets, Healthy-ish meal plans for the whole family, a chance to do one-on-one counseling with me, and the Healthy-ish Podcast (say whaat?!?). FOR. REAL! Stay tuned, subscribe, and leave notes in the comments below so I can make your Delish dreams come true!

In broccoli,

Jen