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Mother making sack lunch with child for back to school

The decision of whether to send your kids to school with a brown bag lunch or lunch money is a hard one to make. On one hand you may be thinking that packing a lunch takes too much time or is too expensive. On the other hand, your kids may dislike what is served for school lunch which results in them skipping lunch altogether. We’re not here to tell you to choose one over the other; however, we will say that nutrition matters and a good lunch can enhance your students’ academic performance, improve their concentration, and better their overall health. One way to help ensure your kids are getting adequate nutrition during lunchtime is by sending them with a lunch from home. So to help ease any worries you may have about time or cost, we’re here with three lunchtime tips that will help you feel good about the food your children are eating at school.

Keep It Simple

Making a lunch for your kids to take to school doesn’t have to be difficult. Most kids will scrunch their noses at things like a kale or quinoa salad, so don’t make their lunch complicated with ingredients they won’t eat—after all, you have a leg up on the lunch lady because you already know what foods your kids love! One of the simplest, and often easiest, meals to send with your kids for lunch is a sandwich. Does your child prefer turkey or ham, cheese or no cheese, mustard or mayo? Or, do they usually reach for the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Our Kodiak Cakes Waffle PB & J recipe is a simple but tasty way to squeeze whole grains and protein into your child’s lunch without having to worry about missing important nutrients!

Sneak in Healthy Ingredients

Keeping things simple doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in healthier options! Swapping out white bread for whole wheat bread is a great start, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Substituting chips for something like these 100% whole grain, protein-packed Cheddar Crackers or Kodiak Cakes Bear Bites is a great way to add a little crunch to your child’s lunch—and they’d never even know they’re healthy. And don’t forget about vegetables. Veggies can be one of the hardest ingredients to squeeze into kids’ diets, especially if you have a picky eater. If you are concerned about the number of veggies your child is not eating, and they refuse to touch their sandwich if it contains anything “leafy” or “green,” you could try hiding those veggies in a sandwich spread! Blend a few veggies in cream cheese or hummus, season to taste, and refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors blend together!

Let Your Kids Pack Their Lunch Themselves

Teaching your children how to pack their own school lunch begins by helping them learn what a balanced meal looks like—one that includes a healthy dose of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. As you visit each food group, allow your kids to have options that allow you both to discuss what foods they actually like eating for lunch. Then, as you make your weekly grocery run, you don’t have to guess which ingredients your children want. Next, take the time to make a balanced lunch with your students, which may include pre-making a lunch for yourself too! Side-by-side, your kids’ can learn by your example. Finally, premaking lunch items in bulk can help make packing their own lunch a breeze for your students. Our recipe for Peanut Butter Bear Bites Bars is one example of this. Each batch makes approximately 12 bars, which is the perfect number to feed a few kids—and even yourself—throughout the week.

Do you have any other brown-bag lunch tips that help you get through back-to-school season? Share them with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @kodiakcakes and using #kodiakcakes.

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