The first wave of kids went back to school last week with more starting this week. We all know the frantic drill trying to get back into the school routine…early wake ups, early morning scrambling, organizing school supplies and backpacks, getting used to new schedules, drop offs, pick ups & carpools, coordinating of all the after-school activities, and a laundry list of other new beginnings that come with summer officially ending. Amidst all this chaos, is the need to pack lunches and make sure our kids are well nourished for their days. What they eat for breakfast and lunch is critical to how well their brainpower, concentration, disposition, energy, mood, sports performance and overall engagement in school. Packing lunches and making healthy choices can be extremely stressful (especially since its 5x week!) so we wanted to share a few tips to make the process easier.
By becoming more aware and mindful of how we can help our children excel better at school and in life, we quickly realize what we feed them at school and at home matters,..a lot. So the goal is simple, give your kiddos the most nutritionally complete, enjoyable foods possible. And the good news, it’s not as hard (or expensive!) as you might think.
12 Beaming back to school lunch tips from our Founder (and mother of 3!) Lisa:
- Try omega 3 enriched nut butters like Nuttzo with apple and pear slices, banana, a couple pitted dates, or the old classic ‘ants on a log’ (almond butter filled celery sticks sprinkled with raisins). Trader Joes has a great raw almond butter too that’s at a great price.
- Think bright colors from fruits and veggies, fun shapes made with cookie cutters, and swap lunch sacks for creative bento boxes (checkout goodbyn.com). You can make these bento boxes or grab a Beaming Bento Box with hummus, quinoa and fresh cut veggies.
- Plan & prep the night before. Since few of us function at our optimal level at 6am, set aside a little time the night before. It really helps!
- Bag a serving of organic baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, and a variety of colored cherry tomatoes. For younger kids, take an extra minute to add stickers of their favorite characters to their lunch bags.
- Grab a few small containers to fill with hummus, guacamole, or homemade pesto for dipping veggies or pitas.
- Trail mix is a great snack that’s easy to make in advance. Take a variety of raw unsalted nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Combine with a variety of un-sulphured, un-sweetened dried fruits (raisins, craisins, dried banana chips, apples, and apricots all great options). Combine in a large Ziploc and give it a good shake. For a real treat, include some vegan chocolate or carob chips.
- Fruit skewers are always fun and make for a yummy snack. Grab a skewer stick (without the point) and add a colorful medly of fruits.
- Consider making a few dishes ahead of time that can be used for lunches throughout the week. Perhaps a cold pasta salad – use brown rice bowtie pasta, or other fun shapes (Healthy tip: use way less pasta and add a lot more veggies). Add their favorite colorful veggies; corn, red bell pepper, spinach leaves, basil and tomato, drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Or pick up a healthy Italian dressing from your local whole foods store.
- Sprouted grain tortillas can be rolled up around a banana with almond butter and drizzled with a touch of honey. Cut it in half, and you have a great snack for 2 kids or a little for you!
- Stuff a collard leaf (or sprouted grain tortilla) with hummus, avocado, tomatoes, bell pepper and spinach for a simple veggie wrap or fill it with turkey, avocado and cheese.
- Making sandwiches? Always choose NITRATE FREE and ORGANIC deli meats. Jimbos, Whole Foods & Sprouts have great options but make sure those nasty nitrates and hormones are not in their meets!
- Replace sugary fruit drinks with coconut water, herbal/flavored ice teas or make lemonade from fresh lemons, water and maple syrup. Freezing a bottle of water ahead of time can keep the cooler cold and be ready to sip on by lunchtime
Parents, it’s every bit as important for you to get your nutrients fix too!
- On the go all day? Throw a cooler bag in the car with an ice pack and put your servings in with an easy to grab organic apple or two, a handful of raw almonds and some raw veggies. (Remember leading by example is the best way to teach healthy habits to your little ones)
- When making lunch for the kiddo(s), make an extra portion for you and voila, you get a yummy, nutritious meal too!
A FEW HEALTHY, KID-APPROVED RECIPES:
Beaming Kids Breakfast Smoothie: (or post school high protein energy smoothie)
- 1-cup vanilla almond milk (homemade or boxed)
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 date
- 2 T Beaming Protein with or without Superfood Greens
- (handful of spinach if you can sneak it in)
- Favorite berries or fruit – blueberries, strawberries or whatever they love
- ½ – 3/4 cup ice
Blend well, serve and enjoy!
Superfood Protein Pancakes *(yes, they could still have pancakes but with protein and nutrition so they can stay focused & energized and not bonk at school)
- Choose a gluten free pancake mix or whole grain (Red Mill has a great gluten free option – Trader Joes has a great Multi-grain pancake mix)
- Replace the oil with coconut oil (better for the brain, heart and joints – vegetable oils are ideally avoided all the time)
- Replace the dairy milk with almond milk – optional but we will always promote almond milk over cows milk to achieve optimal digestion and reduce flem & inflammation that effects brain power
- Add 2-4T of Beaming Protein with or without greens to 12g of plant protein and superfoods to achieve super results (we love baking with Beaming protein! Use in pancakes, banana breads and more to add superfoods to any of your baking in addition to smoothies!)
The protein powder, along with the egg, coconut oil, multi-grain mix and almond milk allows the kids to have protein and not just starch (which means sugar!) so they can thrive all day.
So back to school we go. Here’s to a year of learning, fun and creative lunch box bliss!
Stopping by Beaming? Stock up on our kids approved smoothies!
Did you know we have a Beaming Kids Menu? We have over 20 items on our menu that are “kid approved” so we have a ton of options. As a Mom of 3 kids, I had to create a menu the whole family could enjoy at any age.
Fill up your Beaming carts with our mini bottles of “Mom I ate my veggies”, Cheery Blossom or Rockstar. There are a ton of made to order smoothies they love as well as the acai bowls, superfood gluten and dairy free baked goods, quinoa and even some of the juices!
Conveniently located in our grab and go section so you can easily stock up for those busy mornings when whipping up breakfast in a hurry is not an option!