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Lunch Ideas to Switch it Up!

Tired of the same old lunches? Here are some nutrient-rich ideas and product tips to switch up lunches either for yourself or the little ones in your life! Happy lunch packing!

Crunch + Protein

When you are looking to add something crunchy to a lunch, rethink-it and add-in roasted chickpeas. They come in a wide variety of flavors and some treat-like flavors too (e.g. milk chocolate!). What I love about these - each serving is about 130 calories plus it delivers 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. The fiber is important because it will help to slow down blood sugar level increases, in turn providing better long lasting energy.

Click here to buy some today or check your local stores like Target or Wegmans for them as well!

Click here  to buy roasted chickpeas!

Click here to buy roasted chickpeas!

Add a Protein Boost

Pack along a milk box to add a boost of 8 grams of protein to lunch! I love these Horizon Organic milk boxes, they are also available in flavored options like chocolate and strawberry, which are perfect for refueling after practices, workouts and games. Plus for an added bonus these milk boxes are shelf-stable and they don’t have to be refrigerated, which makes them really portable and easy to bring along.

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Salads for Lunch

If your little ones are tired of sandwiches, switch it up with a salad! They can be really quick and easy to make. Start with a base of leafy greens, then top it with sliced veggies or fruit, sunflower seeds for crunch, and some sliced cheese. Or even add some baked chicken or tofu for a protein boost. Drizzle it with your favorite salad dressing.

Note - also pictured here is a mini yogurt parfait, which are great to pack along with a salad or even with a sandwich. Check out the Back to School Lunch Favorites for more on parfaits - click here.

Warm Up with Soup

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Soup can make a great addition to lunches. Plus choosing a vegetable-based soup like Tomato Soup, is a great way to squeeze in extra vegetables. Remember to send the soup warm in a thermos style container so it will still be warm to enjoy at lunch time. Send along the soup with a half of sandwich, salad, or a parfait to complete the meal.

Pictured here is Pacific Foods roasted red pepper & tomato soup, a favorite at our house! Also check out the Pacific Foods new line of bone broth soups.

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Grocery Shopping with Kids

I actually love grocery shopping and although it can take a little extra patience, I enjoy grocery shopping with our kids. Although I may wind up spending a few extra dollars when the boys grocery shop with me, I think in the long run, it is actually a good thing and helps them to actually eat the food we serve at the dinner table. 

The boys at the Wegmans check out with veggie balloons that a produce department worker gave them because he observed them being such great helpers picking out fruits and veggies while we shopped. 

The boys at the Wegmans check out with veggie balloons that a produce department worker gave them because he observed them being such great helpers picking out fruits and veggies while we shopped. 

Not that I have it perfect, but here are some tips to grocery shop with your kids!

1. Have a plan AND a list - Talk with your kids about food for the week (breakfast, lunches, snacks, dinner). Of course, you can't say yes to all their ideas or requests - for example, our youngest would opt for pancakes or waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we let him - having their input can help helpful. Then build your grocery list because especially when kids are with you...  without a list it would be nearly impossible to leave the store with everything you need.

2. Give them mini jobs at the grocery store - While the 'job' may vary slightly based on their age, giving them little things to do while you are shopping can help keep them focused on the list and a little less likely to get distracted by things you do not need.

Examples:
Grab a bag and pick two bunches of broccoli. 
Pick which lettuce pack you think looks the best for salads this week.
Get 5 of the (tell them specifically which brand or color package) yogurts with the green label.
Pick two boxes of the little bunny crackers. 
Pick any bag of frozen veggies. 

3. Pick and choose somethings to say yes  - Our boys will ask for many things that we don't need in a shopping trip. I find if I tell them yes, to some things that are healthier choices, like a new flavor of KIND Snacks Bar, a different fruit than what was on the list, etc. It makes all the times I say no to the stuff that is sugary, too pricey, or that we just don't need. 

Happy grocery shopping! 

 

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