Although the temperatures in FL are still screaming it’s summer – and will for months to come – Palm Beach County schools will be opening their doors this Monday, August 14th, which is (yikes!), less than 1 week from today! While the 14th is seemingly tooooo sooooon for any kid, sometimes the start of a new school year can be just as daunting for us parents.
Since we want them to get off on the right foot, we have to lay down the proper groundwork to make that happen and it often involves a lot of prepping and planning on our parts, especially when it comes to what goes in their lunchboxes.
But, the truth of the matter is that kids need energy to focus and learn, which is why packing a healthy lunchbox for them is key. So, to make this task a bit more simplified, I have several healthy food, snack and water options to recommend that can make packing a nutritious lunch less of an undertaking.
Choose The Main Meal Option First!
Start the packing process by choosing your main meal first. Preferably, it should have a major protein in it to serve as a building block. You can then configure your child’s lunchbox from there, adding snacks and a beverage as you go.
I personally love to use Abeles & Heymann’s Premium Beef Kosher Hot Dogs as a main lunch meal. They’ve been using the same premium quality ingredients and recipe since 1954, so it’s no wonder that their premium kosher hot dogs are consistently voted the “Top Dog” in America!
They’re simple to cook and because I’ve yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love a hot dog, you won’t hear many complaints about what mom packed for lunch!
Other nutritious reasons to love Abeles-Heymann
- The first ever-refrigerated Kosher uncured hot dog
- They do not contain nitrates
- You won’t find nitrites either
- Other options include lower sodium and reduced fat content hot dogs!
Lastly, be sure to try their partner brand, Hod Golan, who makes delicious all natural kosher poultry meats. Imported from Israel, they have the most delicious ultra thin sliced turkey for the perfect sandwich, as well as chicken cabonassi for the perfect wholesome snack.
You can find them at these locations in Palm Beach County:
1. Glick’s Kosher Market in Delray Beach
2. Kosher Market Place in Boca Raton
3. Winn Dixie in Boca Raton
If these options aren’t close by, check out their website for a store near you OR order online!
Snacks with Protein = 2 Thumbs Up!
When it comes to packing a cheese snack, buyers beware. It’s easy to think you’re including the real deal, but often times many of the cheese products geared towards kids are anything but (hence the term “cheese product”)!
That’s why it’s important to read labels and ingredients and choose an all-natural cheese such as Jarlsberg Cheese Snacks to include instead. Naturally gluten and lactose free, Jarlsberg’s individually wrapped portable cheese sticks are super convenient and each packs a walloping 5 grams of protein and only 70 calories!
If you have a large family, however, and buying individually wrapped cheese packages is not as cost-effective for you; don’t forget that Jarlsberg also comes in wedges that you can easily trim and cut yourself. Aside from the original, they have a Jarlsberg Lite (which is great for waist watchers), as well as a dreamy Hickory Smoked version, for those who want their cheese to have a smooth kick. (We use the wedge as a part of our charcuterie when we host dinner guests – yum!)
For enhanced snacking, Jarlsberg makes savory, baked crisps now as well that are handcrafted in small batches and made w/ freshly shredded Jarlsberg cheese. Again, perfect for after-school snacking or as a lunch box add-in.
They are naturally gluten and lactose free too! Look for these delicious school snack items in supermarkets nationwide.
Dessert That’s Healthy?!
Let’s face it – upon opening their lunch boxes – most kids are guilty of reaching for their dessert first! But, even if that’s their go-to move, you needn’t worry about it when you’ve packed Garden Lites muffins. Their secret is baked in vegetables. In fact, that’s the first ingredient you’ll see with any of their products.
Finding new and delicious ways for kids to eat more veggies is their goal and their mission is simpatico: To Get America Hooked On Veggies! And, by disguising them in delicious muffins, waffles and veggie cakes – we moms say, give us more! Plus, they are so simple to pack. Just take them out of the freezer and by the time the lunch bell ring, they are ready to be noshed on!
I love that they only use clean, simple ingredients and all of their products are non-GMO and gluten-free!
Healthy – and Delicious – Drinks!
It’s so incredibly hot in Florida that one shouldn’t need to be reminded of the obvious importance of staying hydrated. But, when it comes to kids, you’d be surprised at how many of them “forget to drink” if left to their own devices.
Other parental conundrums: kids who turn their noses up at the thought of drinking “just plain old water,” or those addicted to sodas. Luckily neither will be the case when you pack their lunch boxes with hint water. Because hint waters are infused with real fruit essences and have no sugar or diet sweeteners, your kids will get the taste factor they want and the health and hydration that they need. Whether you send them off to school with hint’s flat or fizzy waters, your kids will reap the tasty, positive benefits. I call that a win-win.
My boys love the kid-friendly flavors such as: watermelon, apple, pineapple and blackberry. Their fizz waters are a great alternative to sugary sodas and pops. Check out Publix, Target or other major retailers and grocery stores OR you can take advantage of their subscription service online!
Portion-Controlled and ADORABLE Lunch Boxes!
Last but not least, your kids will need a sturdy lunchbox that all these nutritious foods can go in to! The goal is to purchase one that will last them through many school years, which is why I typically don’t bother buying the cheaper kinds often found at big box stores. One of my favorite brands is Yumbox as they are lightweight, compact and have an easy open latch, making them super kid-friendly.
With their bento box design (aka individual food wells) and their leak-proof single lid, they make organizing lunch and snacks within a cinch; all the while teaching your kids about balance and portion control. The fact that they can go into any insulated tote or backpack is also a welcomed convenience. For the best fit, however, you may want to purchase one of Yumbox’s super cute lunch bags or totes, which you can find on their website.
The samples shown in my WPTV NBC 5 segment are the Yumbox Original with 6 wells in Neptune Blue and the Yumbox Panino with 4 wells, in the Kawaii Pink.
Besides being an easy-to-pack bento box for kids or adults, Yumbox is helping to save the planet (and your wallet!) by eliminating the need for baggies. They also come in 4 styles to suit your family’s needs and ages: Yumbox Original and Panino for children; Tapas, for preteens, teens and adults; plus the adorable MiniSnack snack box.
Healthy Back to School Lunch Box Ideas
Check out my latest news segment where I speak about each of the ideas above!