Let’s Brown Bag It: Every Moms Guide to Packing Healthy School Lunches

Inside: 5 practical tips to help you pack healthy school lunches for your kids + a free downloadable pdf with 50+ ingredient ideas, supply checklist, shopping list, sample lunches and more!

Let me just start by saying-

It’s time for us moms to echo Planet Fitness’ motto and make the lunch room a judgment free zone.

The way I see it, each of us has a responsibility to do right by our children when it comes to feeding them healthy school lunches, but everyone’s “right” is going to look a little different.

This article is all about inspiring you to the best you can with what you have. Nothing more, nothing less.

A Real Mom's Guide to Packing Healthy School Lunches | This article gives you 5 practical and easy make ahead tips complete with our favorite recipes + a 7 page FREE printable that includes: supply checklist, shopping list, and 5 sample menu ideas (even for your picky eaters!)! Packing lunches for kids every day isn't for the faint of heart, but we have everything you need!

Wasn’t Sarah’s most recent article entitled  7 Tips to Help You Create a Healthful Lunch fantastic?! If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do that right now.  It is important for us to

It is important for us to develop the proper mindset towards packing healthy school lunches before we dive into the specific “how-to’s” of brown bagging it.

Moms! Let's echo Planet Fitness’ motto and make the lunchroom a judgment free zone too. Click To Tweet

Throughout our Whole Food Family Series, we have been teaching you how to transform the health of your family ONE whole food at a time.

We have taught you how to Snack Smart, Take Back Breakfast, Bump Up the Whole Food Count at Dinnertime, and now we are switching our focus to school lunches.

Here are my five best tips for moms as they endeavor to create healthy school lunches for their growing children.

Packing Healthy School Lunches Tip #1 - Healthful eating habits start at home. If you want to teach your children healthy eating habits, don't start with their school lunch. Instead, start at home and start small!

#1 – Healthful eating habits start at home.

If you want to teach your children healthy eating habits, don’t start with their school lunch.  Instead, start at home and start small!

As you begin to expand their  food horizons, make certain to train your children to bring home the portion of the lunch they didn’t eat.  This provides valuable feedback for you and also a teaching opportunity (it also provides a no-brainer after school snack).

Brace yourself for the shocking truth….

My son will only eat peanut butter and jelly/honey sandwiches for lunch at school. I know…the horror!

I wish he would eat cold meat sandwiches, but he just doesn’t. They go in the garbage each time when I find them warm in his lunch box after school.

When I pack his lunch I make sure to include lots of nutritious snack options alongside his sweet sandwich.  It’s not the perfect solution, but it’s the best I can muster.

Knowing what your kids will and will not eat once the lunch bell rings is a crucial step towards successful brown bag lunches.

Packing Healthy School Lunches Tip #2 - Use small, portion controlled containers. We have to keep in mind that kids don’t need the same portions as adults. They also don’t have as much time to eat their lunch or snack.

#2 – Use small, portion controlled containers.

We have to keep in mind that kids don’t need the same portions as adults. They also don’t have much time to eat their lunch or snack.

I seem to have quite the chatterbox for a daughter,  so she rarely eats everything I pack for her.  On the other hand, my son will eat every last drop of food I pack for him (so long as he “likes” what I packed).

Our willingness to grow and change as mothers based on the feedback we get from our children is so crucial.  I think that packing the proper portion size for their appetite and eating habits is a crucial step in this process.

I love baking recipes that are healthy and easy! These Simply Amazing Banana Muffins are the best recipe I have found so far! I love the fact that it takes less than 30 minutes (ONLY 8 ingredients!) to make this recipe from start to warm, gooey, finish! It's your choice if you want to add chocolate chips or nuts. I have also had success using whole wheat flour and baking this batter in small loaf pans and giving them as teacher or neighbor gifts!

#3 – Bake and stock your freezer on the weekend.

I try to have pre-made lunchbox and snack items in my freezer and fridge most weeks such as date and nut energy bites, granola bars, muffins, oatmeal energy bites, and sometimes granola mixes. It helps to take the guesswork out of a few of the items I pack for them each day.

It also speeds up the process for me and makes packing healthy school lunches each day a whole lot less stressful.

>Want a sneak peek inside my freezer?  Check out this video blog.<<

Healthy School Lunches Tip #4: Send the same fruit or vegetable ALL week. My kids do not get a different super exciting lunch each day of the week. They often eat the same lunch and snack options several times during the week.

#4- Send the same fruit or vegetable ALL week.

My kids do not get a different super exciting lunch each day of the week. They often eat the same lunch and snack options several times during the week.

If I happen to buy a container of blackberries at Sam’s Club, those little babies need to be eaten relatively quickly, so they will find them in their lunch for the week.

I love my little angels and variety is the spice of life, but the fact of the matter is we live as frugally as possible and wasting food physically hurts me.

Healthy School Lunches Tip#5 - Prioritize whole foods over processed. As you will see in our free guide, we encourage you to stuff as many unadulterated foods in your kids school lunch as possible. If you find we've set the bar too high, just make a decision about one improvement you can make TODAY and run with it. This is all about progression NOT perfection!

#5 – Prioritize whole foods over processed.

As you will see in our free guide, we encourage you to stuff as many unadulterated foods in your kids school lunch as possible.  If you find we’ve set the bar too high, just make a decision about one improvement you can make TODAY and run with it.

This is all about progression NOT perfection!

If you have an off day (or week) and send your kids to school with a frosted sugar cookie, leftover popcorn, half an apple, and a sandwich it will be okay. I promise. My kids lived through it and yours will too.

It's a brown bag revolution! 5 tips to help moms pack #healthy lunches + a free printable. Click To Tweet

Ok, now that you’ve read my five best tips (and learned that brown bagging it requires a delicate balance of practicality, reality, and your unique personality) it’s time for our totally free freebie….woo hoo!

A Real Mom's Guide to Packing Healthy School Lunches | This free download not only includes a list of 50+ lunchbox ingredient ideas but also lays out the anatomy of healthy school lunches. PLUS 5 practical and easy make ahead meal tips complete with our favorite recipes for even your picky eaters!

This free download not only includes a list of 50+ lunchbox ingredient ideas but also lays out the anatomy of healthy school lunches and gives 5 real world lunchbox examples anyone can replicate.

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the valuable resources inside this FREE 7-page downloadable pdf (TIA for helping us out and sharing the image below with your friends on Pinterest).

A Real Mom's Guide to Packing Healthy School Lunches | This article gives you 5 practical and easy make ahead tips complete with our favorite recipes + a 7 page FREE printable that includes: supply checklist, shopping list, and 5 sample menu ideas (even for your picky eaters!)! Packing lunches for kids every day isn't for the faint of heart, but we have everything you need!

>>Click Here to Download Your Free Printable Now<<           (no strings attached!)

Change is hard, but the best and most lasting change comes one small step at a time.

When you open up this document, just look for one small change you can make today.   Start there!  This is a marathon, mama…don’t allow yourself to become so overwhelmed that you just stay STUCK right where you are.

We’d love to hear how this information has impacted your life in a real and practical way, so please tell us in the comments:

What is ONE thing you learned in this article or the free download that you are ready to apply to your kids brown bag routine today?

 

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This article has been shared at many of our favorite linkups.

Sammi Ricke

About Sammi Ricke

Sammi Ricke is a talented cook with a knack for coming up with creative new ways to healthify recipes without sacrificing any of the flavor. Sammi has built a beautiful life with her high school sweetheart and enjoys her primary role as a stay-at-home mom to their two children. If Sammi's not in her kitchen, she's probably exploring a new hiking trail, enjoying coffee with a friend, or binge-watching the latest "Food Network" show on Netflix. Sammi's full Bio.

22 thoughts on “Let’s Brown Bag It: Every Moms Guide to Packing Healthy School Lunches

  1. Great post with some helpful tips! Packing lunches is one of my most dreaded daily chores. I love your quote about progress, not perfection. We all need to offer each other and ourselves a little more grace in this world. Thank you for sharing on Family Joy Blog Link-Up Party. Have a great week!

  2. Great ideas! I’m saving this on Pinterest for when we move. I’m blessed that the school my boys attend offers free lunch to the entire school but the new district we are moving to does not so we will probably be brown bagging it then. Thanks for a great post. I found you through Let’s Get Real linkup

  3. Loved this post! I appreciate the creative ideas. As a mom of teens I’m running out of steam but this post sparked some inspiration. I think I’ll have my kids take a look at your ideas and pick their favorites. I appreciate your work 🙂

  4. Lots of great ideas! My daughter loves her lunchbox that has different small compartments too. I always appreciate lunch ideas. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Savoring Saturdays linky party. I’m super late commenting this weekend, so sorry. We always appreciate you sharing with us.

  5. What fabulous tips. We homeschool so I don’t bag lunches for my kids but I do lunch prep daily. I love the tip about stocking the freezer. Pre-made muffins and snacks make the world of difference to our days.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

    1. That is so great to hear, Stefani! We publish articles in hopes of them blessing others 🙂 You will have to keep us posted! PS…Our children are no longer toddlers, but we remember how difficult it can be to feed them balanced meals. Stick with it! You will see the “fruits” of your labor in years to come 🙂

  6. A fantastic list, I pinned it. I share your view on the healthy eating habits. Good point regarding portion sizes!

    I am not a fan of including a treat with a lunch, we try to reserve treats for after dinner, as a once a day habit. Other than that, I really like your ideas on healthy kids lunches.

    1. I agree with you Mila. We typically only have 1 treat/day and I either pack it in their lunch or they can have it after dinner much like your family 🙂 Thanks for sharing a little slice of your life with us!

  7. I love this post, I pack lunches almost every day & I always try to get creative, but it’s tough! I often put the same fruit in every single day, in order to not waste it, so reading this was a sigh of relief 🙂 Thank you for joining in on the link-up, have a Great Week!!

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