It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again – back to school! While parents may be doing a happy dance (on the inside of course), there is a great deal of planning that goes into the start of school which can be a little overwhelming. Making sure your kiddos have the appropriate backpacks, supplies, and clothes can be time consuming and costly. One other item that should not be overlooked is what your child will be eating for lunch each day. While many schools offer a healthy lunch option, packing your child’s lunch can be cost saving, often healthier than what the school offers, and it doesn’t have to be a stressful added morning routine. Below are some great tips to packing your child’s lunch with enjoyable, healthy organic produce in ways that will not break the bank!
- Shop Smart – To make the most of your money, purchase fruits and vegetables that have a longer shelf life. Foods such as apples, oranges, celery and carrots can last for several weeks in the fridge. Look for produce that is on sale when buying fruits with shorter shelf life and purchase only what your family will eat. If foods such a peaches and grapes begin to reach their shelf life, freeze them at home for other uses.
- Purchase in Bulk – I know it may be tempting to purchase those cute individual packages of food; however, you can package celery and carrots into reusable containers in as little as ten minutes on a weekend afternoon. Foods like bread and granola can be purchased in bulk when they are on sale and kept in the freezer until you need them.
- Keep it Simple – Keep in mind these are kiddos, not culinary specialists reviewing a 4 course meal. Adding in simple fruits and vegetables that you know they will eat is key. Ask your child to pick out the organic produce they like when they are grocery shopping with you.
- Take Time to Prep – There is a lot of research that shows children are more likely eat fruit and vegetables if they have been sliced. It only takes a few minutes to slice up healthy, organic produce to put in a lunchbox.
- Add Some Flair – There are several simple ways to add flair to your child’s school lunch. Something as simple as cutting watermelon into a cute shape can make the difference for a lot of kids! When making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, skip the jelly and add fruit instead. Peanut butter and apple, pear, or banana sandwiches are great way to add in extra organic produce into your child’s diet. Adding healthy dipping sauces for carrots and celery like homemade hummus or peanut butter can go a long way as well.
- Don’t Forget the Sweet Treat – Let’s be honest, kids most often look forward to the sweet treat that’s been packed in their lunch, and often times, eat that first. Why not make sure that sweet treat still has nutritional value? Add in dried pieces of fruit like apricots and banana chips. They will still give them the sweetness they are looking for without all of the added sugar.
Packing your child’s lunch does not have to be a stressful, costly experience. These tips can help you pack a healthy lunch full of organic produce that your child will enjoy. Be sure to stop by Georgetown Market’s produce section to pick up food for your child’s lunch!