Summer is coming to an end which means school is starting – back to class, back to schedules and back to preparing lunches.
Back to school means
back to school lunches
Do you cringe at the thought of school lunch?
Having to come up with gluten-free school lunch ideas . . . preparing the ingredients or food your children will eat, and then making time to pack, is all too much for some to consider.
Isn’t it easier to send in money to buy lunch?
You can easily overcome all of the issues that can get in the way of taking your own gluten-free lunch to school.
And, this is definitely a great way to keep your gluten-free child safe and healthy while at school.
Prepared and Pre-planned
The benefits of taking your own gluten-free lunch to school, or work for that matter, far outway not doing so. And, with a little practice, you can get it done in a manner that soon becomes a habit in your home.
Food allergies are a big challenge to overcome for purchasing lunch at school. Check with your school to see what regulations are in place for your child to eat safely, especially if you plan on purchasing anything prepared in school.
No offense to the school cafeteria, my children have always brought their own gluten-free lunch to school. With their food allergies, this is our way to keep everyone safe and healthy.
When you are in charge of what you’re eating, you know what’s in your food and how it’s prepared. The school may serve gluten-free options, but cross-contamination may still be an issue.
Again, always check with your school to see what regulations are in place to keep your child safe.
On the other hand, I want my children to eat an overall healthy meal at lunch to have the energy and stamina to get through the day.
Too many schools are still serving chicken nuggets and other fast food junk. Adding in a veggie does not make that meal healthier. We all know the kids throw out the peas anyway, right?
Bringing your own gluten-free lunch
When children pick what they eat, they are more likely to finish their lunch – when they aren’t too busy talking to their friends!
Have your children help prepare their own lunches. As they get older they should be able to take care of this on their own. Preparing most of it the night before is a huge help. In the morning, just add the last-minute items to their bag.
If you have teens in the house, label any items you are taking to school the following day so NO ONE eats their food items the night before for a snack! Yes, this has happened at our house!
Plan it out
Before school starts, brainstorm lunch options with your family. Make a list and pin it up in the kitchen. Use the list to plan lunches for the week. This helps to have the correct ingredients needed so everyone is happy. It definitely beats, “There’s nothing to take for lunch!”
Create your own Lunch List
with your family
Start by brainstorming your favorite meals and things the kids like to eat. Stick to main meal items first. Then, add in fruits and veggies for snacks as well as healthier snack options like olives, date balls, or a homemade muffin to complete the lunch.
Keep the list in the pantry or
on a kitchen bulletin board
Each week, plan the lunches to be taken to school. Next, create a shopping list before you head to the store or Farmer’s Market. You can also reverse that to save money. By buying items on sale, you can save by creating lunches based on the food you purchased.
On Sunday, you can get ahead by preparing some items for lunch ahead of time. Cut up veggies for snacks or make a fruit salad. Making rice or quinoa on the weekend is also a time saver during the week. Cooking burgers and freezing them is also a good option.
Anything you can prepare ahead of time can save you time during the week, especially with early mornings or late nights.
Once school starts, do your best to make lunches the night before. In the morning, just grab the last minute items and you are good to go.
You will feel better about what your child is eating by preparing lunches together at home. Planning out helps make better choices and can help keep your child healthier through the school year!
By taking your own
gluten-free school lunch . . .
*you are creating better health for your child = fewer school days missed by eating healthier options
*they are more likely to eat lunch when they choose and help prepare their food
*you are keeping them safe due to their allergies, with less worrying about cross-contamination or eating food that may contain gluten
*they will be nourished and pay better attention in class by eating healthier options = nourished body & nourished brain