Healthy Back-to-school: In the lunch box!

Healthy Lunches

A great way to boost your keiki's health and immunity is to make sure they are eating nutritious foods, at home and at school. Packing a lunch for your child allows you to have some control over what he or she is eating at school and keeps your child from having to buy school lunches. Typical school-bought lunches are meat-based and loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as refined sugars, flours, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.

By making intelligent shopping decisions and setting aside time for preparing lunches, you can help your child to stay healthy and give him the energy and focus needed to succeed in school. Down to Earth is a great place to start looking for tasty and healthy lunch box foods. Following are some simple lunch ideas and recipes. Get your keiki to help you prepare their healthy lunch for extra credit!

A sandwich is a great staple of any lunch. This chart lists some alternative ingredients that can make the typical sandwich more nutritious:

Other yummy options include:

Always include fruit in the lunch pack, and make it easy to eat. Wash all fruit, pre-cut or peel oranges, and apple slices. If you drizzle lemon juice over the apple slices it will keep them from turning brown. Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce comes in a handy single-serving container. Dried fruit is handy too; Try Stretch Island Fruit Co. Fruit Leather, available in a variety of real-fruit flavors.

Include as many vegetables as possible. Carrot sticks (try Organic Bunny-Luv Baby Carrots) and celery are always good options, but don’t be afraid to mix it up with broccoli, snap peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, or green peas. If your child is resistant to veggies, including a sauce or dip will sometimes do the trick. Try nut butter, eggless ranch, cream cheese, or one of these irresistible and easy dips- Mac Nut Cheese Sauce or Cauliflower Hummus.

Yogurt is a handy lunch addition, but make sure it is all-natural; some varieties of yogurt are filled with refined sugar, gelatin, artificial colors and flavors. Down to Earth carries Stonyfield, Brown Cow, and Cascade Fresh Yogurt in 6 oz. containers, plus an amazing assortment of dairy-free yogurts.

As an alternative to greasy chips, look for baked varieties, whole grain varieties, soy crisps, rice cakes, or crackers. Try Lundberg Rice Cakes, Hain Mini Munchies Mini Rice Snacks or Sensible Foods Dried Crunch Snacks.

Make your own one-of-a-kind snack mix using ingredients from our bulk bins. It’s economical and you can let your kids help create the mix!

If you pack a juice box, make sure it is 100% juice. We like Hansen’s Natural Juice Squeeze, Santa Cruz juice boxes, or better yet, coconut water! Of course, nothing is better than pure water, and lots of it.

The habits your children develop now will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Consistently packing a well-rounded, healthy lunch for your keiki (plus yourself and your spouse) is a big step toward influencing your family’s health in a positive way, and will help boost everyone's immunity for back to school success.