Blog, Life

Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Jessie Hetzel is another guest poster and we are so excited to have her! Jessie is a Midwest momma to three and works hard to find nutritious options for her family to eat. Be sure to follow her Instagram account here for more great lunch ideas and to see specifics of what foods she loves to pack in her kids lunches!

By: Jessie Hetzel

My Mission

Take a stand for better lunches. Our kids deserve it!

I am a rebel for a cause! My kids are in school for 7 hours a day. They eat one snack and one meal. I want to make it the best I can provide!

As a work-at-home mom, I am thankful to have the resources to pack my kids’ lunches every day. Over the past few years we have come to see food as medicine and I want to provide good, whole foods for my kids.

I looked at what our school system was providing and realized that we needed a rebellion to make change happen. The lunches I pack are quick, simple, and colorful. My kids have a few dietary restrictions. Some are from choice, some are sensitivities, and some are allergies. I want to show that eating a lower sugar, gluten free, dairy free, dye free, and organic diet can be easy and delicious!

How I Got Started

I used to post pictures of the lunches I made for my kids on my Facebook account. Everyone really loved them and enjoyed seeing the ideas of what to pack. This year I decided to step up my game and I created an Instagram account called @lunchboxrebel.

I am doing the same thing I was doing before – packing good lunches and taking pictures of them – but now I am doing it with better lighting. 🙂 I named the account, lunchboxrebel, because I truly believe that eating whole foods with organic fruits and veggies is a rebellion of sorts these days. I want to show others that kids can have palettes that adapt to healthy and nutritious foods.

Lastly, it is important to me that they are low sugar! I looked at just one of the lunches provided by the school and if a student were to eat everything offered that day, they would consume 19.75 teaspoons of sugar. That is about 79 grams of sugar in one meal. (4 grams = 1 tsp) Imagine the effects of a child consuming over 19 teaspoons of sugar and then having to sit quietly for another 3-4 hours of school.

With these food values in mind, I have set off to create the best lunches possible for my kids, and hope to inspire many others to create their own healthy lunches!

Making Lunches Fun

Not only do we have the choice to pack great lunches for our kids, but we have the opportunity to make lunch food FUN! I have found a few tools of the trade that I really love using to make both the lunch making and the lunch eating part more fun!

Tools I use to help make food more fun to eat!

– I love using cute cut out shapes and wooden toothpicks to make food a bit more fun! Toothpicks can be used to make mini fruit skewers, keep lunch meat rolled up, veggie pops, and tons more! The cut outs can give almost any food a different shape!

– I love using plastic alternatives! Reusable silicone cups and compostable paper cups are awesome! The silicone baking cups and small containers offer fun and colorful options to hold and separate foods.  I love using bleach and chlorine free coffee filters and cupcake liners as well! These are not only eco friendly options, but they are fun for the kids!

– Never underestimate the power of kind words! I love sending notes in my kids lunches.  I think little words of encouragement can really brighten a kids day. I’m not able to be with them for the 7 hours they are away… but I can still show I care 🙂 A simple note can be helpful, especially early in the year, when new friendships are forming and they are still finding their place at school.

What If?!

Putting lunches together really makes me think what if!? What if we changed what our kids were eating? What if we recognized that what kids are eating affects their mood, behavior, intelligence, and health? What if we could change the direction of a child’s entire health and life by educating them on food choices in early elementary? What if we really started this rebellion? It starts with one meal at a time. 

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