Udi’s Goes to School – How To Pack a Healthy Lunch, Part 2

Busy working parents, stay at home parents and caregivers all have at least one thing in common. We have to provide lunch for our children (okay, and breakfast and dinner…but today we are talking about lunch).  For the children who don’t have a hot meal option at their school, or who might be allergic to some foods, packing a lunch can be a challenge. It can be a challenge on any busy morning where you are just happy to get out the door kinda sorta on time, with the kids mostly dressed and homework packed! Wait. That’s MY usual morning! Truth be told, it’s almost never “on time” but that’s a post for a different day…

Earlier this week, I wrote, “How To Pack a Healthy Lunch, Part 1″ because so many of us soccer moms (and dads) seem to struggle with it.  Turns out, people all over the world struggle with this dilemma of how to pack a good lunch.  I know this because I received emails and posts from many of you (thank you!). In the previous post, I mentioned some suggestions on how to get good protein and carbs and how to “sell” new foods to your children by suggesting they are the “food of a Jedi or their favorite princess.” 

Today I want to give a big huge shout out to Udi’s Gluten Free Bread (no, they did not pay me or ask me to do this…we just LOVE them).  Before Udi’s came along, I made all my own gluten free bread every Sunday. I liked it. It was work. But it was a labor of love because I knew that my son loved his sandwiches. The problem was that no matter what kind I made, it was always super crumbly and hard to eat unless you heated it up.  Heating food up at school is not usually an option for most kids.

Then, one day, Udi’s appeared on the market. It was probably a year later when one of my readers finally convinced me to try it. Why did I wait so long?  It used to be impossible to really enjoy a gluten free sandwich at lunch. But now we can have sandwiches every day. Udi’s travels extremely well and if you ever see me flying from point A to point B, I have a loaf in my bag. It is actually shelf stable for five days. It might be shelf stable longer, but we usually eat it all within three days! We are so very thankful.

As for packing a healthy lunch, there are many things to consider in addition to whether or not your child (or you) has an allergy or can’t eat certain foods.

11. We all have to start somewhere. Pick at least ONE healthy thing you can pack for your child that they will eat. Include it every day until they get tired of it, or they want something new that is healthy. Keep adding healthy foods until lo’ and behold…their whole lunch box is healthy. (insert angelic singing, sun shining and birds singing HERE)

12. Minimize or eliminate the sugar. This is hard. I know this is hard because I still send a gluten free cookie(s) several times a week. The teachers cringe when they see it because it provides no nutritional value and they still have to sit through class all day. On a sugar high.

13. Avoid anything with dye in it…especially red dye. Why? It is a suspected contributor to ADHD, ADD and overall attention issues. “Aw, that’s just rumor.” you say. Possibly. Sugars and dyes can have quite the affect on children and they offer no nutritional value.

14. If you’re going to grab a package of chips or crackers to pack, opt for the healthier low-sodium products. Corn tostito chips have less fat and sodium than a regular potato chip or Frito.

15. If you feel compelled to give something sweet to give your child a pick-me-up during the day, try sending a favorite sticker or something they collect as a little “surprise” each day instead.

16. If you’re using the good ‘ol fashioned brown paper sack, write something on the outside with their name. Yes. I realize this will not work for the more mature student, but it works GREAT for the little guys (and gals).

17. Have a separate shelf in your pantry just for the lunch box items. This saves so much time in the morning when you go to assemble your lunches.

18. Keep a list on your fridge (or even a PICTURE) of what you usually pack in the lunch box. This helps when you’re groggy and haven’t had your coffee…wait, that’s me again…or when you go out of town and your spouse/partner/dog take over lunch box duties.

19. Pack salad dressings in separate containers from lettuce. There is nothing worse than soggy lettuce. Okay. Not true. There are lots of things worse, but soggy lettuce makes for a bad lunch.

20. Consider a “rotation” where you don’t send the same foods every day. For example, Monday is jelly sandwich day and a sticker. Tuesday is chicken salad day and a baseball/Pokemon card. (I have boys…but I assume girls would like a princess-related thing!)

Again…don’t give up. You can do this. And you can make it fun!

1 Comment and 0 Replies
    • BlairSprouse
    • 10.02.2010

    God bless Udi Breads1 We are back to menu's, and grocery shopping is easy.


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