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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Realistic, Easy, Healthy Lunches

When Kye started attending an all day school last year I stressed out a good bit about lunches. I am a VERY realistic parent. We don't "eat clean." Everything that enters my children's mouths is not always organic. But I try my best to offer healthier options. I'm not saying they are the healthiest but I strive to be healthier. If I buy chips for my kids, they are the ones with vegetables in the ingredients. I make sure they eat fruit and vegetables at each meal. I only buy wheat bread. Etc etc. I do my best but I don't overly stress about it either. 

My goal for his lunch box was to always have a variety of foods and to have them be as healthy as options as I could manage both easily and quickly. I wasn't striving for those cute little critter designs in his lunch box. I wasn't trying to be some gourmet chef each morning. I just wanted to get him out the door with a decent lunch for the day! I took pictures each morning of the lunch I prepared for him and I debated doing this post. But then Kye came home near the end of the school year and said that the lady who makes sure the lunch room runs smoothly talked to him about how he has the healthiest lunch in the entire school every day. Either a) she was just saying that or b) the lunches I packed him were healthier than I gave myself credit for. Either way I figured this post may help other new-to-lunchbox-land mamas like I was last year!


First some basics:

I debated (and purchased and returned) over lunch boxes BIG TIME. I ended up going with one similar in style to this one



I also wanted to find a GOOD storage container that wouldn't leak and would be easy to clean. I LOVE these:


And I also wanted a good way to keep the lunch box cool. I bought these and have been very happy with them:


Daily Stuff:

Every day in Kye's lunch you'll see a little green Advocare vitamin. I do the Advocare V100 Chews at breakfast for the kids and at lunch I do the Advocare Citizinc ones. I'm all about giving a healthy boost when I can!

I also like to include a daily note of encouragement for Kye. Sometimes I hand write them, but usually I include a God centered note from Be Kids Mobile. They have FREE weekly bible studies and FREE lunch note printables that coincide with the topic of the study for that week. So awesome and very age appropriate for elementary school! You can find them here!

Kye drank water every day at lunch in a water bottle. It was from Pottery Barn Kids. I was pretty disappointed with how it held up and actually complained to the company about the quality of the product and was sent a new one, so we're giving it another go this year too! 

I also found out that Kye was allow to take a treat/snack onto playground at recess as long as it could fit in his pocket so typically I tried to stick a small piece of candy or fruit snacks etc in his lunch box for that!

I found that things I wanted to keep warm worked best if I heated them pretty hot in the morning then wrapped them in tin foil. In most of the pics I hadn't yet warmed the items :)

School Lunch:

I'm not anti-school lunch in principal, mostly just in cost. It's not economical for us to have Kye eat school lunch but we did allow him to eat it once a month and anytime that Zach and I were traveling during the school year. Kye also loves lunchables so I'd also allow him to take one of those for lunch usually once or twice a month too. 

Here we go, these are all in completely random order:


{ham and cheese wheat tortilla wrap, grapes, bean chips, homemade granola bar, drinkable yogurt, starburst}


{bean and cheese quesadilla on wheat tortilla, kiwi, sweet potato fries, apple crisps, and fruit strip}


{leftover Zaxby's chicken and fries, apple slices, carrot drinkable, fruit snacks, and a mix of raisins, yogurt raisins, cheese stick, and nuts}


{roll ups made from ham and cheese on wheat tortilla, fruit stick, vegetable straws, carrots, celery and apple slices with peanut butter, and squeezable yogurt}


{leftover steak and rice from Japanese restaurant, yogurt smoothie, carrots sticks, apple slices and peanut butter, box of candy, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese sandwich on wheat bread with mustard, cheese stick, peaches, pretzel crackers, and pumpkin spice muffin}


{ham and cheese sandwich on wheat bread with mustard, grapes, carrot sticks with Nutella, drinkable yogurt, candy treat}


{wheat ritz crackers with peanut butter, drinkable yogurt, sweet potato fries, blueberries, grapes, drinkable applesauce, fruit by the foot}


{ham and cheese sandwich, vegetable straws, pears, carrot sticks, peanut butter, drinkable yogurt, fruit stick}


{ham and cheese wraps, sweet potato chips, grapes, peanut butter and banana muffins, drinkable yogurt, fruit snacks}


{whole wheat mini bagel with peanut butter and honey, orange slice, fries, grapes, fruit and veggie shreads, drinkable yogurt}


{breakfast casserole muffins, sweet potato chips, drinkable yogurt, strawberry slices, fruit snacks, candy}


{peanut butter and jelly roll ups, frozen night prior. Grapes, blueberries, carrot sticks, squeezable applesauce, piece of candy}


{ham and cheese sandwich, pears, carrot sticks, squeezable applesauce, fruit stick, piece of candy}


{wheat ritz crackers with peanut butter, drinkable fruit and veggie mix, peaches, carrot sticks, Nutella, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese sandwich, granola bar, orange slice, fruit stretch, squeezable applesauce}


{ham and cheese wrap, apple, sweet potato chips, yogurt smoothie}


{english muffin with peanut butter and honey, sweet potato chips, grapes, blueberries, carrot sticks, Nutella, squeezable applesauce, life safer gummy}


{ham and cheese sandwich, orange slice, smart pop popcorn, fruit and veggie mash up, fruit snacks}


{egg and sausage burrito, drinkable yogurt, grapes, blueberries, carrot sticks, Nutella, fruit stretcher}


{ham and cheese sandwich, peaches, sweet potato chips, drinkable yogurt, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese wraps, drinkable yogurt, peaches, peanut butter and banana muffin, fruit and veggie shreds}


{ham and cheese sandwich, strawberries, goldfish, pretzel sticks, drinkable yogurt, peeps}


{wheat mini bagel with peanut butter and honey, watermelon, carrot sticks, Nutella, grapes, drinkable yogurt, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese wraps, smart pop popcorn, homemade granola bar, pears, drinkable applesauce, yogurt fruit snacks}


{mac and cheese bites, blueberries, carrot sticks, peanut butter, fruit and veggie shreds, squeeze yogurt}


{ham and cheese sandwich, sweet potato chips, apple slices, carrot sticks, peanut butter, yogurt squeeze, candy}


{wheat ritz crackers, ham, cheese, blueberries, grapes, sweet potato fries, squeeze applesauce, fruit and veggie shreds}


{peanut butter and jelly roll up, frozen night prior. Smart pop popcorn, kiwi, carrot sticks, Nutella, squeezable yogurt, candy}


{ham and cheese sandwich, strawberries, homemade granola bar, lemon pudding, fruit stick}


{egg and sausage burrito, sweet potato fries, peaches, pretzels, yogurt raisins, goldfish, squeezable yogurt, fruit stick}


{ham and cheese sandwich, blueberries, grapes, carrot sticks, Nutella, squeezable yogurt, yogurt fruit snacks}


{peanut butter and jelly roll ups, mickey veggie chips, peaches, carrot sticks, Nutella, yogurt smoothie, fruit and veggie shreds}


{breakfast casserole muffins, strawberries, carrot sticks, squeezable yogurt, fruit by the foot}


{ham and cheese sandwich, string cheese, mickey veggie chips, carrot sticks, peanut butter, apple, fruit stick}


{breakfast casserole muffins, blueberries, carrot sticks, peanut butter, squeezable yogurt, fruit snacks}


{chicken strips, pumpkin spice muffin, strawberries, frozen yogurt stick, strawberries, fruit stretch, fruit and veggie shreds}


{sausage and egg burrito, veggie straws, carrot sticks, Nutella, apple, candy}


{ham and cheese wraps, orange, yogurt raisins, raisins, watermelon, sweet potato fries, animal crackers, frozen yogurt tube} 


{ham and cheese sandwich, goldfish, peaches, carrot sticks, Nutella, candy, applesauce squeezable}


{chicken pocket, sweet potato fries, animal crackers, grapes, kiwi, orange}


{breakfast casserole muffin, yogurt with strawberries, apple slices, carrot sticks, peanut butter, smart pop popcorn}


{ham and cheese sandwich, orange, blueberries, grapes, fruit stick, frozen yogurt tube, carrot and zucchini muffin}


{yogurt with strawberries, chicken nuggets, french fries, apple slices, carrot sticks, peanut butter, orange}


{ham and cheese sandwich, grapes, carrot sticks, pretzel crackers, cheddar crackers, drinkable yogurt}


{egg and sausage burrito, grapes, mickey veggie chips, carrot sticks, frozen yogurt tube}


{peanut butter and jelly sandwich, kiwi, raisins, yogurt raisins, pumpkin spice muffin, sweet potato chips, orange slices}


Lunchable Day!


{ham and cheese wraps, sweet potato fries, watermelon, goldfish, raisins, cheese stick, applesauce}


{raisin bagel with peanut butter and honey, pretzel crackers, orange, fruit and veggie shreds, grapes, carrot sticks, yogurt with blueberries}


{ham and cheese sandwich, cheese stick, carrot and zucchini muffin, mickey veggie chips, blueberries, kiwi}


{chicken fingers, fries, carrot sticks, peanut butter, frozen yogurt tube, fruit snacks, grapes and blueberries}


{ritz crackers with peanut butter, yogurt with strawberries, apple, fruit snacks, carrot sticks, sweet potato chips}


{peanut butter and jelly roll ups, sweet potato fries, home made granola bar, peaches, blueberries, strawberries,  fruit and veggie shreds, frozen yogurt tube, Nutella}


{ham and cheese wrap, pirate booty, applesauce with wheat germ and cinnamon, frozen yogurt tube, grapes, carrots, orange slices, peanut butter, fig newtons}


{sausage and egg burrito, homemade granola bar, fruit stick, kiwi, apple slices, carrot sticks, Nutella, mix of raisins, yogurt raisins, dried bananas and nuts}


{ham and cheese sub sandwich, rice krispie treat, champion cookie, orange slices, carrot sticks, peanut butter, yogurt with strawberries}


{ham and cheese sandwich, bean chips, carrot sticks, blueberries, orange slices, fruit snacks}


{raisin bagel with peanut butter and honey, carrot and zucchini muffin, watermelon, pineapple, melon, grapes, veggie straws, frozen yogurt tube}


{ham and cheese roll ups, cheese stick, carrot and zucchini muffin, veggie straws, carrot sticks, apple slices, peanut butter}


{ham and cheese sandwich, veggie chips, orange slices, mixture of notes, cheese, and raisins}


{quesadilla with sauce, celery with peanut butter and raisins, fruit snacks, watermelon, pineapple, melon, sweet potato fries}


{pizza, applesauce squeezable, carrot sticks, fruit snacks, watermelon, kiwi, pineapple}


{pretzel sticks, cheese cubes, carrot sticks, celery sticks, apple slices, peanut butter, yogurt with strawberries, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese sandwich, bean chips, orange slices, peanut butter and banana muffin, cookies}


{mac and cheese bites, sweet potato fries, mickey veggie chips, peaches, fruit snacks, frozen yogurt tube}


{sausage and egg burrito, carrot sticks, peanut butter, apple slices, frozen yogurt tube, fruit stick}


{ham and cheese sandwich, yogurt and regular raisins, fig newtons, pumpkin chips, peaches, candy}


{chicken fingers, fries, carrot sticks, cookies, grapes}


{kiwi yogurt, veggie straws, fruit stick, carrot sticks, apple slices, peanut butter, pretzels, cheese cubes}


{peanut butter and jelly roll ups, carrot sticks, grapes, popcorn, fruit strip, squeezable yogurt}


{pizza, apple slices, kiwi, applesauce squeezable, fruit stick, mix of goldfish, cheese, raisins, nuts}


{yogurt with strawberries, oatmeal cream pie, pumpkin chips, watermelon, ham and cheese wraps, peanut butter and banana muffin}


{carrot sticks, strawberries, fruit snacks, pretzel sticks with cheese cubes, raisin mini bagel with peanut butter and honey}


{peanut butter roll up sandwich, pretzel chips, carrot sticks, frozen yogurt tube, pears, candy}


{ham and cheese sandwich, blueberries, mickey veggie chips, fruit snacks, applesauce squeezable}


{champion cookie, waffle with peanut butter and honey, fruit strip, watermelon, pineapple, pretzel stick, cheese cube, yogurt and strawberries}


{yogurt, fruit snacks, carrot sticks, apple slices, peanut butter, ham and cheese wraps, bean chips}


{peanut butter and jelly roll ups, fruit snacks, frozen yogurt tube, peaches, pumpkin spice muffin, chips}


{donuts, raisin bagel with peanut butter, sweet potato fries, veggie straws, orange slices, fruit and veggie mash up, fruit snacks}


{sausage and egg burrito, celery sticks, carrot sticks, apple slices, peanut butter, grapes, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese sandwich, pirate booty, celery sticks, carrot sticks, apple slices, fruit snacks, yogurt squeezable}


{chicken finger, pumpkin spice muffin, watermelon, veggie straws, orange slices, goldfish, candy}


{peanut butter and jelly roll ups, pirate booty, peaches, fruit and veggie shreds, frozen yogurt tube}


{ham and cheese sandwich, orange slices, mickey veggie chips, fig newtons, fruit and veggie mash up}


{pizza, grapes, popcorn, fruit and veggie mash up, candy}


{ham and cheese wraps, veggie straws, candy, apple}


{chicken fingers, carrot sticks, cheese stick, candy, fries, kiwi}


{quesadilla, sweet potato fries, watermelon, pineapple, melons, candy}


{mac and cheese bites, mickey veggie chips, kiwi, carrot sticks, frozen yogurt tube, candy}


{Ritz crackers with peanut butter, sweet potato chips, watermelon, melon, pineapple, raisins, yogurt raisins, cheese, nuts, cheetos and candy}


{fruit and veggie mash up, mix of raisins, yogurt raisins, cheese, and nuts, ham and cheese sandwich, orange slices, nilla wafers, candy}










{pigs in a blanket, applesauce, pineapple, melon, blueberries, carrot sticks, peanut butter}

{ham and cheese sandwich, pretzel crackers, pumpkin spice muffin, orange, squeezable yogurt, cookies}


{peanut butter and honey roll up, carrot sticks, strawberries, mac and cheese, pirate booty, candy}


{ham and cheese wraps, cheese wheel, sweet potato fries, grapes, candy}


{ritz crackers with peanut butter, orange, melon, carrot sticks, Nutella}


{wheat bagel with peanut butter and jelly, cheese wheel, orange slices, sweet potato fries, candy canes}


{ham and cheese wrap, orange slices, carrots, Nutella, popcorn, fruit snacks}


{ritz crackers with peanut butter, popcorn, cheese stick, strawberries, homemade granola bar}


{ham and cheese sandwich, orange, peanut butter and banana muffin, fruit and veggie mash up, fruit snacks}


{wheat english muffin with peanut butter and honey, pirate booty puffs, cheese cubes, carrot sticks, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese sandwich, popcorn, grapes, fruit snacks, yogurt smoothie}


{ham and cheese roll ups, drinkable yogurt, fruit snacks, mickey veggie chips, melon, pineapple, blueberries}


{graham crackers with peanut butter, popcorn, grapes, fruit and veggie drink, sweet potato fries}


{orange, pumpkin spice muffin, yogurt smoothie, peanut butter sandwich with honey, fruit snacks, bean and sweet potato chips}


{ritz crackers with peanut butter, pears, cheese stick, fruit and veggie drink, fig newtons, fruit roll up}


{peanut butter and jelly roll ups, carrot sticks, celery sticks, pears, fruit and veggie shreds, yogurt smoothie, candy}


{ham and cheese sandwich, yogurt smoothie, apple, fruit and veggie drink, fruit strip, candy}


{graham crackers with peanut butter, cheese stick, apple slices, bean chips, fruit and veggie drink, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese wraps, veggie straws, grapes, fruit stick, applesauce squeezable}


{homemade granola bar, grapes, egg and sausage burrito, yogurt squeezable, fruit snacks}


{ham and cheese sandwich, sweet potato fries, strawberries, drinkable yogurt, candy}


{peanut butter ritz crackers, popcorn, melon, fruit and veggie drink, fruit snacks}


Whew! If I never type "ham and cheese sandwich" again I'll be one happy mama ;) We def got in a good lunch grove this year. I started out packing him WAY too much food. His teacher joked with me that he had enough for the entire class ;) As time went on I found a better balance with portions for him. They only have about 20 minutes to eat so little things I switched up made a difference (like peeling his orange for him rather than packing a whole one). He also made friends and would ask me to pack extra treats to share with them so I often would put multiple goodies in there for that reason. Reading the book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" as a kid scarred me for life as I never want to be "that mom" who forgets to pack dessert ;) I also never want to forget to pack a note to remind him he's special and loved every day! 

Hopefully my combos of lunch box meals help give some ideas to other moms like me who feel overwhelmed by the entire process, I'd also love to know some easy tips from you too! What's your lunch box go-to???
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