Put their favs on repeat! No one is judging the day-to-day variety of your child’s lunch. Cucumber sandwich everyday? Sure why not- they’ll be onto the next thing soon enough. The bottom line is…kids want to be happy about opening up their lunch box. These colourful thermoses, drink holders and containers definitely make it fun!
Of course, if you have a picky little pumpkin…have some choices available and alternatives on hand to make a few quick swaps. This will save yourself time and stress.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Turkey + Mozzarella + Hummus Tortilla Roll-Up SWAP> Sliced Grilled Chicken + Tzatziki + Cucumber Spear Tortilla Roll-Up
- Blueberries + Grape SWAP> Strawberries + Melon
- Yogurt + Coconut Sprinkles SWAP> Yogurt with Hemp Granola and tangerine slices
When is the best time to prep lunches?
Adopting a weekly meal prep session will be your number one ally. Prepping a few meals, baking a delicious loaf, washing and cutting up veggies ahead of time will simplify your daily routine more than anything else. Plus, the more healthy foods you have available and ready to eat, the more likely they are to select them.
Keep prepared foods in larger food storage containers, then as the week goes on, you (and your kids) can take the amount they want and pack it into smaller lunch containers.
Another way to simplify things is to build “packing the lunch” time into your regular routine. Maybe the best time for your family is during dinner clean up or to tack it onto the nighttime routine (pack lunch bag, bath, books, Pj’s). If your kids are older, have them pack lunch before TV or outside play. It will take some effort to formulate the routine, just like weekly meal prep does but with practise it will become second nature. Morning can be a busy time but if your kiddo is an early riser, morning might be the best time to pack lunches. It’s also a great way to help get them ready for their day.
Have fun and enjoy the ride! Here’s hoping your kiddos come home with empty lunch bags and full bellies!
Healthy Pancake Recipe
You don’t have to save these pancakes for breakfast; they can be a filling and healthy lunch item too! My little one loves these cold (and in fun shapes).
2 cups (160 g) rolled oats
11/4 cups (295 ml) unsweetened
almond milk, plus more if needed
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 cup (60 g) flour (whole wheat)
1/2 cup (120 g) unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Coconut oil, for cooking
1 cup (75 g) frozen or fresh mixed
berries (e.g., raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), for topping
3/4 cup (64 g) unsweetened desiccated coconut, for topping (optional)
- Place the oats, almond milk, protein powder, flour, applesauce, and vanilla (in the order they are listed) into a blender. Blend on low to medium until well combined. If the batter is too thick— doesn’t pour easily off a spoon—add almond milk, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, and blend until desired consistency is reached.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough coconut oil to coat the pan when melted. You may need to cook in batches, so if the pan becomes dry at some point, add a little bit more coconut oil. Slowly pour the batter from the blender onto the skillet and form circles about the size of the palm of a hand. When the edges of the pancakes start to look dry and bubbles begin to form, 2 to 3 minutes, flip and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes on the other side. Remove from the heat.
- Place pancakes into containers, storing the toppings in separate containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, warm the pancakes in the microwave or a toaster or toaster oven. Top with the berries, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave if frozen, and coconut (if using).
Erin Romeo is an author of “The Visual Guide to Easy Meal Prep”, nutrition coach, She’s an advocate for good nutrition and regularly shares her tips and tricks for healthy eating on Instagram, where she’s better known as the @foodprepprincess. Erin and her meal preps have been featured in a number of publications such as: Shape.com, Health Magazine.com, Oxygen Magazine, thekitchn.com, The Daily Burn.com, Buzzfeed, Brit+Co and was voted one of the “Best meal Prep Accounts on Instagram” 2018 by Popsugar.