Here in Michigan, the first day of school is just one week away! With school right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about packing school lunches. So today, we are dedicating our second bonus blog of the month to talking about how to pack a school lunch and ideas for what to put in them!
Included in this post, I have two downloadable PDF pages for you to print and use when planning out your lunchbox food supplies. One page is a breakdown of what types of foods to pack in your child’s lunchbox for a well balanced meal as well as specific ideas for each food category. Since sandwiches are usually the main dish of choice, the second sheet is an idea list of different sandwiches to pick from. That way, your child can still have some sandwich variety!
How to Pack a School Lunch Box
In order for your child to have the best, most well rounded lunch at school, we suggest packing a lunchbox using five different categories.
1. The Main Dish
Every school lunch you pack should include one main dish that features some kind of carbohydrate and a source of protein. It is important for our children to have a good source of carbohydrates and protein because carbs promote memory health and protein helps to increase the efficiency of their neurotransmitters (aka brain messengers).
2. The Fruits and Veggies
For this next category, we suggest picking two items from the fruits and veggies list. If you can pick one of each, that’s even better! Fruits and veggies are an important part of your child’s well-balanced meal because they are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The fiber your child will get will help them to feel full for a longer amount of time and the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants will help to defend their bodies against any bugs they could possibly catch when around all the other kids.
3. A Side or Snack
When packing your child’s lunch, it is never a bad idea to pick one item from this category as well. If your main course does not include a source of carbohydrate, then this is a great area to pick up that “slack”. If you already have that base covered, then you could include a snack item that provides your child with a source of calcium (cheese, yogurt, etc) instead.
4. A Drink
This category is pretty straight forward. You should include one type of drink with your child’s lunch. If the lunch you packed is still lacking a source calcium, which is crucial for children’s bone growth/strength development, then a great option for you to pack is a small carton of milk.
5. A Sweet Treat
While we do not always suggest packing a sweet treat in your child’s lunchbox, an occasional sweet surprise does not go unnoticed or unappreciated by your little one. Every so often, you can pick a treat out of this list to include in your child’s lunch. These items are heavy on their sugar content, so they should not always be included.
To help you remember these packing suggestions (as well as to give you some starting ideas for each category), we have created this FREE downloadable PDF just for you!
Since we also know that sandwiches are a huge lunchbox staple, we have also created this fun list of different kinds of sandwich ideas for you to use as well.
You can download this free two page PDF by clicking on the link below!
We hope you find these guidelines and ideas helpful when planning your child’s lunches in the coming weeks! I know I will be using both of these documents when I’m packing my own work lunches from now on as well… since these are not ONLY meant for children!
That’s all for today. Come back and see us again on Friday when we will be releasing the last bonus blog post for our Back to School theme. On Friday, we will be revealing some great conversation starting questions to ask your children about their first day of school (and future days of school as well). In the meantime, make sure to subscribe to our mailing list by filling in the form below! We look forward to talking to you again on Friday.
Have a great week!