Making school lunches seems to be an energy drain for most families. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some ideas to help you make 2015 a stress-free school lunch year:
Sign them up for pizza lunch and accept all “bring a friend home for lunch invitations” they can wrangle! Not every meal has to be as healthy as the menu at Canyon Ranch Spa. Balance their need for nutrition with your need for sanity.
2. One list & one rotation
Create a list together with your children of 5 lunches that they enjoy. Most of our stress comes from thinking “WHAT CAN I MAKE FOR LUNCH TODAY?” It’s the need to think creatively that exhausts us. Well, I say forget creativity! You’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest. Go for a pragmatic formula instead. Research shows most families eat the same 4 or 5 meals over again and again for dinner. Why not apply the same principle to lunch? Once you have the lunch list, your only work is in making sure the items are on the grocery list, and packing it.
3. Pack strategically
Don’t forget to label!
Mornings are a pressure keg. Take some of the stress off by packing lunches at some other time of day – maybe the most low-key time of your day is right after kids go to bed? Or pack them while you simmer dinner on the stove. Heck, why not pack three days worth of lunches at once?
4. Let the kid’s solve the boredom problem
If your kids complain they are tired of getting wieners and beans for lunch, explain you will happily remove them from the list of 5 lunches, once replacement school lunch recipes have been discovered. Have them scout out lunch options by looking at what their friends are packing. Imitation is the highest form of flattery isn’t it?
5. Pass the torch
Eventually, you’ll want your kids doing this job for themselves. That means you should spend time teaching your children to pack their own lunch, so you can pass the torch on to them. Kids tend to eat better when they pack their own lunches, so the earlier the better!
About the Author:
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine. Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”. She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com
It’s nearly here. It’s really happening. The day many parents have been waiting for – the day the children return to school. Elementary school, or high school, it makes no difference, this time of year is fraught with mixed emotions. Children and parents everywhere are both excited and nervous.
So, as a mama who has six kids to get out the door, I thought I’d take what I’ve learned over the years and create a FREE e-book to help other parents out. Because let’s face it we all like to get free stuff and we could all use a little help this time of year! Yes there are many free books online but this one is chock full of great advice such as transitioning from summer mode to back to school, how to deal with social issues and of course, some of my favourite products for back to school shopping.
Make this the year that back to school goes smoothly with school organization tips! Download your free Ultimate Back to School Guide here!
More free stuff – a contest!
Another product that makes back to school easier of course, are our labels. But if you haven’t already bought your Ultimate Back to School Combo or are in need of another don’t panic! Since time is running out on this combo offered only until Sept 30th, I’ve decided to have a give-away.
Simply comment below and let us know how you’re feeling about sending the kids back to school and you’ll be entered to win your very own Ultimate Back to School Combo!
This contest is open from 8pm EST August 31 to 11:59pm EST September 1, 2014
When thinking about healthy eating one doesn’t necessarily think of pizza, though some are still convinced that it is the ultimate food offering something from all food groups. So does pizza have anything to offer nutritionally? Well unfortunately, any nutrients that you might get from the toppings are cancelled out by the high sodium, high sugar, high fat delivery system. No matter how much we try to count the tomato sauce as a vegetable, and the cheese as protein, most pizza recipes aren’t healthy recipes. Does that mean you have to avoid pizza forever? Naw…
Don’t avoid pizza – make it healthy!
It is all about the nutritional ratio. H=N/C or Health = nutrients over calories. If you can keep the nutrients high and the calories low, you will indeed have a quintessential kid food that doesn’t derail your efforts at healthy eating.
For pizza delivery try these tips:
- Thin crust beats thick or deep dish crust
- Whole grain is only better if it is thin crust, the amount of fibre isn’t worth the extra dough
- Chicken is the best meat, all other meats are too fatty
- One cheese is plenty but if you have to add some, add goat’s cheese, it is lower in fat
- Add as many vegetables as possible to a veggie pizza; olives, sundried tomatoes and capers count
- Ask for double the tomato sauce
- Order double the salad and half the pizza that you think you will need
- Skip all appetizers, they are never worth the calories
When opting for frozen pizza keep these things in mind:
- Choose whichever thin crust pizza has the lowest sodium count
- Avoid all meats other than chicken
- Spread extra tomato paste on frozen top before baking and sprinkle extra herbs, ground flax or chia seeds
- Add a shake of grated parmesan to keep your new toppings in place
- Top with arugula or spinach after you remove from the oven
- If you just can’t cope without a little meat, choose lean prosciutto into small pieces and add after baking
If you would like a crust dip, consider:
- Tomato or marinara sauce or another healthy pizza sauce
- Avoid all creamy or cheesy sauces
- Salsa is low fat and high flavour nutrient dense dip, it goes with everything
So if you want pizza go for it! By following some of these nutritional tips to enhance pizza recipes you can still make this Italian treat a part of healthy eating.
About the Author:
Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com