Nutrient -Dense Lunches and Snacks To-Go

created by Danielle Sinclair-Whitby, NTP
When we pack nourishing snacks and lunches to keep our children fueled-up for the school day, they have the best chance at being well within themselves – and getting a dose of homemade goodness.  Our mindfulness and attention to properly feeding their bodies, supports them while they are in the care of others and allows us to have a great impact on their ability to receive the education being offered at school.  To me, that is as important as sending them to school in the first place.
The following examples may serve as a jump-off point to create your own snacks based on your family’s food preferences.  I ask myself a few questions in packing food to send to school or take away for the day:

Did I include healthy fats?
Coconut oil, sprouted nuts/seeds, raw cheese or yogurt.  Eating adequate fats reduces sugar cravings substantially.

Did I include fresh, raw veggies or fruit? 
Carrots, apples, cucumbers, peppers, orange slices

Is there a good protein component?
Chicken, beef, eggs, fish

and finally, did I send something that my child will consider a “treat”?
Lunch has to be fun and yummy, or they aren’t gonna touch it.  True.  

Tools for success:
 – Encourage children to drink water by providing a good, easy to operate container.  Even mild dehydration causes moodiness, headaches, inability to concentrate and fatigue.  None of these ailments support wellness or openness to learning.    
Invest in good metal containers that can keep foods hot or cold.  
A sturdy, functional and attractive lunch bag, box or whatever that your child will be happy to open and dive into!!
Simple, smart snacks:  (which can easily be lunch components, too)
Apple slices, carrot sticks or celery sticks with almond butter or sunbutter
Sliced and stacked mozzarella, tomato and basil
Hard boiled eggs (carry in jacket pockets on chilly days to keep hands warm – careful! not too hot)
Crispy nuts (Nourishing Traditions)
Unsweetened yogurt with berries
Hummus and veggie sticks (peppers, cukes, carrots)
Mashed avocado with lemon juice and crackers
Beef jerky (homemade – Mommypotamus has a GREAT recipe!)
Applesauce (preferably homemade) with yogurt
Popcorn (organic, and popped using coconut oil, sprinkled with salt and butter)
Date and Nut bars – (Homemade is your best option – if you have a food processor, you can make these.)
Satisfying, nourishing lunches: (often dinner left-overs)
Stews, soups, chili – all of these offer an opportunity to pack in veggies, bone broth and meat in one hearty dish.  My first choice!  And my children will usually eat it.
Rice and beans – cooked in bone broth, with some chopped veggies and shredded or crumbled raw cheddar or feta cheese
Left-over breakfast – Pancakes, sausages and scrambled eggs.
Bacon and egg muffins – Often a breakfast left-over
Chard & Kale frittata with a side of saurkraut – eggs and cheese somehow make the preponderance of greens in this dish passable for my children.
Cold roast chicken with veggie sticks 
Deli cold cuts (Applegate Organic) rolled up with a side of kale chips and veggies
Coconut Date balls – Again, similar to date bars, any variation on the theme rolled into little balls.  Unlimited possibilities with these gems!
Dried fruit – Pineapple, mango, apricots, banana chips – all unsulphured and organic
Almond flour chocolate beet brownies – These were a revelation!
Homemade trail mix – crispy nuts, dried raisins, cranberries & maybe a few chocolate chips… very few!
I hope these tips and meal suggestions give you some inspiration and help out when you are wondering what to send for your children.
When in doubt, or when the lunchbox comes back with meals picked over and mostly uneaten, ask your child for input and suggestions.  Some of my most successful ideas have come straight from the my fussy eaters – when they have an influence and can bring what they like, I can find a way to make it healthy/nourishing and we are all happy!!
Please see the following recipes in the Recipes section:
Spiced Coconut Chips
Almond Flour Chocolate Beet Brownies
Date Rolls

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