I’ve partnered with Stop & Shop to bring you this blog post. As always, the opinions expressed are all my own, and thank you for supporting CNC. I hope this post gives you some tasty, healthy, and easy lunch ideas for you and your family!
Now that we’re all back to school, I wanted to share some healthy lunch ideas that the whole family will love – even the pickiest of eaters. You can quite literally whip up these lunches in a matter of minutes. Let’s just say healthy eating doesn’t get easier than this! 🙂
All of the foods and products featured are from the Stop & Shop in Norwell on Washington Street, which has an incredible selection and variety of healthy options at great prices. The Nature’s Promise line, in particular, is really affordable and includes all sorts of wholesome, good-for-you options – everything from organic foods to all kinds of products for individuals with food allergies and sensitivities.
To better learn what kids want to find in their lunch boxes this season, Stop & Shop commissioned a survey of kids and young teens between the ages of 8 and 15 throughout New England. Here are some top findings as well as some helpful back-to-school lunch tips from Stop & Shop Nutritionist, Julie Hersey, MS. RD, LDN.
- Mom is the best: 59% of kids report their mothers make the best school lunches
- Majority of kids bring their lunch to school: 69% percent of kids in New England bring their lunch to school at least a few times a week and 27% reporting that they bring their lunch every day
- Variety is the spice of life: 50% of kids selected that they wish they had more lunchbox meal options and a larger variety
Back-to-school lunch tips
- Have kids be actively involved in making their lunch as they will learn more about healthy eating
- Pack school lunches the night before to minimize morning rush
- Prepare extra food at dinner to have leftovers for school lunch the next day
- Create a school lunch menu for the week and make a list of items you need to purchase
- Look for sectioned or bento-style lunch boxes which helps with portion control and allows for a variety of food
- Put lunch box drinks and cold food storage containers (excluding those containing milk) in the freezer the night before so they can serve as lunch icepacks
- Be sure to put healthy options in your kids lunch box including granola bars and mixed fruit varieties for healthy snacks
- Never pack nuts in your kid’s lunch box – even though your child may not be allergic to nuts, their classmates and lunch mates may be!
KRC Research conducted this research between August 3 and August 9, 2017 via an online survey of 849 kids, ages 8 to 15 years old.
LUNCH IDEAS FOR KIDS
If you have little kids, you probably understand the struggle of getting them to eat healthy food. Most days, we struggle to get Quinn to eat anything at all! And, honestly, I can count on one hand how many bites of vegetables he’s eaten in the past year. He knows vegetables will make him strong (he tells us all the time), but he continues to say they’re “gross” and won’t eat them. Mal and I still reminisce about the days when Qman would eat just about anything, but…*sigh*… it is what it is, and we do our best to continue to offer healthy options and talk them up as much as possible.
Stop & Shop had a bunch of awesome options that I knew Qman would like. Right now, he’s really into anything that is “kid-sized,” so the hummus and guacamole singles were perfect. And, of course, I couldn’t pass up the Paw Patrol cheese sticks and drinkable yogurt with wild animals on them. Quinn was ALL about these products when he saw them and ate them right up! Woohoo, mom win! I kind of feel like I’m tricking Quinn into eating healthy food, but, hey, whatever works, right? Plus, I’m always pumped when food I buy for him and it doesn’t go to waste! Read on for 3 fast, easy, and healthy lunch ideas for kids!
Nature’s Promise Organic Cereal Bar // Stonyfield YoKids Organic Smoothie // Nature’s Promise Organic Unsweetened Apple Sauce // Baby Carrots // Sabra Hummus Singles
Wholly Guacamole Mini // Baby Carrots // Annie’s Whole Wheat Bunnies // Stonyfield YoKids Organic Smoothie // Babybel Mozzarella // Apple
Sunflower Butter and Jelly Sandwich made on Dave’s Killer Bread // Paw Patrol Cheese Sticks // Health Warrior Chia Bar (aka “special bars” according to Quinn) // Strawberries
FYI: I found the adorable DinoBytes Sandwich Cutter in the bread aisle at Stop & Shop! 🙂
LUNCH IDEAS FOR ADULTS
You probably already know this, but I’m ALL about quick and easy meal ideas, especially if they’re healthy. This salmon salad (it also works with tuna) is one of my go-to lunches when I’m pressed for time and need a nutritious and satisfying meal.
Simple Salmon Salad
- 1 can of wild salmon
- chopped veggies of choice (I used cucumber and bell pepper)
- grainy mustard
- salt + pepper
Directions: Drain water from salmon. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Serve in a sandwich or pita, on rice cakes, chips, toast, crackers, sliced cucumbers, or your favorite veggies of choice. The options are endless!
Simple Salmon Salad // Rice Crackers // Baby Carrots // Bell Pepper // Banana // Justin’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup
Taco Cauliflower Rice Bowl // Wholly Guacamole // Apple
This Taco Cauliflower Rice Bowl is the easiest meal to throw together – and you can even make multiple batches at once and pack away for quick, grab-and-go lunches in the morning.
Taco Rice Cauliflower Rice Bowl
- Rotisserie chicken <— seriously, the biggest time-saver ever!
- 1 bag Steamfresh cauliflower rice
- 1 bag Steamfresh white rice
- Jarred salsa
- Shredded cheese
- Wholly Guacamole Mini
Directions: Steam cauliflower rice and white rice in the microwave. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the rotisserie chicken. When the rices are finished cooking, divide them between glass containers (I do a 50/50 split between cauliflower rice and white rice), top with chicken, salsa, and shredded cheese. I also typically include guacamole to complete the meal. Boom, lunch is done!
I hope this blog post gave you guys some great ideas for planning lunches and making the whole process more enjoyable. I love that Stop & Shop makes things easy because they have everything I need to make my family’s favorite lunches!
Question of the Day
What are some of your favorite 5-minute lunches?