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Summer is laid back. It is a time when we can relax the rigid schedules and rules we live by during the school year. Bedtime tends to be a moving target when kids can sleep in and spend their days at camp or playing with friends rather than having to pay attention in a classroom. Meals and snacks tend to run together when entire days are passed popping in and out of the pool, and we might find ourselves saying “yes” to things we might be stricter about during the year. Nachos from the snack bar? Sure. Chips and candy on the family road trip? Ok. Can we go out for ice cream? Of course! With the new school year rapidly approaching, now is the time to get back into our regular routine, which includes curbing the junk and reestablishing healthy eating habits.
Not every lunch that leaves my house hits the nutritional jackpot, but in general, I try to include protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and something that has some crunch to it. I also try hard to remember that packing the healthy lunch is only half the battle. My kids have to eat the stuff I pack, so I try to include foods I know they like. Here are some ideas from Farmview Market to help you from getting into a lunchbox rut.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The sandwich has been around for over 200 years for a reason. There is almost nothing easier than slapping some protein between two slices of bread, picking it up with your hands, and chowing down. Using whole grain bread and adding sliced veggies are a great way to up the healthy quotient in any sandwich. Farmview’s chicken salad and pimento cheese make delicious sandwiches, or pick up a Whole Smoked Chicken to slice up for a nice change.
When sandwiches get boring, turn them into a wrap or roll up. Ditch the bread and add your fillings to a tortilla or multigrain wrap. Or, skip the carbs entirely and create a roll up with a slice of cheese and meat. Pick up some of Farmview’s fresh wraps to make packing lunches even easier.
Packing a thermos opens up a whole new frontier of lunchtime possibilities. Plus, it’s a great way to put dinner leftovers to good use. We use ours for rice and beans, soup, macaroni and cheese, or pasta. While I typically pack lunches the night before in order to conserve time in the morning, on hot lunch days, I’ll wait until the last possible minute to heat the food in the microwave and add it to the thermos before the kids head out the door.
Foods that have the feel of a snack can also serve the nutritional punch of a main meal. Some great options include cheese and crackers with Farmview Market’s all-natural beef jerky sticks or a Chicken Salad Snacker with crackers.
To round out the meal, picking a side from the categories below is key:
Cheese sticks or chunks, cottage cheese, dairy-based pudding, yogurt, tzatziki dip with veggies, Rock House Creamery creamline whole milk or award-winning chocolate milk, yogurt smoothie, and low-fat sour cream based dips are all great choices.
Whole fruit (apple, banana, pear, tangerine, etc.), fruit salad, sliced fruit, applesauce, mixed berries, mandarin orange sections, grapes, fruit smoothie or try the Farmview Trail Mix which includes dried fruit.
Salad, sliced veggies with hummus (we love this super easy hummus recipe) or ranch dressing for dipping, blanched or raw green beans, cherry tomatoes, edamame, or baked tortilla chips with salsa.
Visit Farmview Market to stock up on all the fixings for a great and healthy lunch.
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