I can not believe how quickly summer has passed by. Back-to-school for most littles is today!! I consider myself quite a lucky girl to have so many friends with little munchkins that I get to snuggle and cuddle and I have the best little nephew, but as you know they don’t stay small forever and a lot of them are starting school this fall.
Packing a lunch for your little can be fun but also slightly challenging. You want to make sure that lunch is full of nutritious goodies that the kids are actually going to eat it. It’s no good to pack a lunch box full of yummy food to have it end up coming right back at home!
Here are some tips to help you and your little ones this fall as they embark on the new adventure that is school (or for your bigger littles that are heading back):
1. Make lunch colourful. Opening a up a lunch box with all the colours of the rainbow will look so much more appealing than a bunch of beige snacks.
2. Get creative with fun shapes. How boring is a square sandwich?! What about picking up some fun cookie cutters and cutting your little one’s sandwich into their favourite animal or into a flower or star. I know I’d be more tempted to eat it.
3. Shake things up, think about adding some variety. Make sure you cover all the food groups. Protein, some veggies, one piece of fruit for a snack and maybe a homemade muffin for desert made with brown rice or oat flour and apple sauce for sweetness (yum!) would cover all the bases.
4. Choose quick and easy to eat foods. Keep snacks simple. If you want to send an orange, peel it and separate the pieces. Your little one will be busy making new friends and socializing and won’t want to be bothered peeling that orange.
5. Give options and get the kids involved in decision making. Pack lunches the night before and make it a fun time for you and your kiddos to be together in the kitchen. Give them healthy options and let them pick which they want the next day. One of my besties pre-packs everything on Sunday into categories (veggies, fruits, proteins, etc) and then has her kiddos choose their lunch the night before picking something from each category. I love this idea because it keeps lunches healthy, has variety and the kids contribute in making choices which builds healthy habits.
6. Think outside the box, literally. I know I always wanted the ‘Lunchables’ or the less than nutritious snacks my friends had because I thought it was cool – little did I know it wasn’t really REAL food. If your munchkins are like me and always comparing lunches its time to think outside the boxes and packages and get creative! What about a ‘realfood’ables? Create that same kind of lunch using a bento box style lunch kit (I’ve been told Yum Boxes are amazing by more than one of my mom friends) and adding in whole grain or seed crackers, some nitrate free lunch meats and some veggies.
7. Include a ‘treat’. Always include some form of treat like a homemade zucchini muffin or yummy trail mix cookies.
The bottom line is to make things fun and intriguing for your little one and don’t stress because at the end of the day kids are intuitive and know what they need.
I asked my parent friends to give me some tips and tricks for making the back to school transition easier. The most common thing was to prep as much as you can the night before. Make lunches, get clothes ready, pack their backpacks and leave as little as possible to do in the morning, just in case things get a little hairy and not everyone is a morning person.
If it’s the first time for school for your munchkin it can be a really big transition for both of you. Go easy on yourself, give your munchkin lots of hugs and talk to them about what is going to happen when they get to school so they can be prepared and get excited about it.
Germs! I definitely don’t subscribe to the antibacterial sanitizers and what not to keep germs away, but I am aware that going to school means more germs that your kids can be exposed to which may mean more colds and sick days. Give your kids a head start and boost their immune system with a high quality multi-vitamin, omega-3 and a good probiotic (health begins in the gut!). Here are my favs.
Lice is another common challenge kids face at school. Another mom friend recommended a spray bottle with water and tea tree oil. This helps to prevent getting lice in the first place.
This last piece isn’t exactly advice but I think it’s the cutest story I was told when I asked my friends about back to school. This mom told me her daughter always came home with little critters like grasshoppers and crickets in her lunch box and tiny bits of her lunch left in there in case they got hungry.
Wishing everyone a great first day of school and a super safe and exciting school year! Xo