Packing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be hard! I often use leftover meat from supper as a starting point for my daughters lunch. My husband always brings a packed lunch from home, so when I’m cooking supper I already plan for leftovers, it just makes sense for me to plan for her also. On the days we don’t have left overs, or she for whatever reason don’t want it for lunch, she gets a peanut butter sandwich (when she had a classmate with a peanut allergy we used Sunbutter and LOVED it!). We usually aim for a trash free lunch, meaning there’s nothing disposable in her lunch, but I do try to keep a few convenience items on hand such as the organic apple sauce cup in the picture.
I have always been pretty particular about what my daughter eats and the more I’ve learned over the years the more I know I’m doing what’s best for our family even if we have to cut corners elsewhere to afford the quality of food we want to eat. We buy organically raised, grass-fed chicken and pork from a local farm and my husband and daughter deer hunt so that helps stock our freezer a lot! I make use of all parts of the meat we use by making bone broth (aka stock) from the chicken I roast almost every Sunday. I’ve found that cutting out all the “junk” and eating almost exclusively from home leaves much more room in our food budget for real food.
At my daughters school they only have around 25 mins for lunch, that includes getting there and sitting down, so I try to make sure it’s ‘open and go’ for her. In the photo above my 10 year old daughter has a grilled boneless skinless chicken breast left over from our Memorial Day lunch, a huge strawberry, a peeled raw carrot, an applesauce cup and 2 squares of a dark chocolate bar (similar to this).
It’s easy to swap this basic lunch around and have many different lunches. Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, pork chops, a sandwich or salad in place of the grilled chicken, replace the applesauce cup with green beans or corn, exchange the dark chocolate for blueberries or dried nuts.. better yet add all three!
My daughter happily eats her lunch at room temperature. I pack everything cold and she says by lunch it’s not warm nor too cold. She’s never complained, but experiment with your child. I’ve found that it’s better to send something and see how it turns out than to ask first. When I pack something new I just make sure to send enough so if she doesn’t like it she still has plenty to eat.
I really love these Easy Lunch Box containers, I’ve used them for years! I’ve bought several sets, they are very durable and a good size for adults too. I often separate the big part with a jumbo silicon muffin cup like shown above. These dipping containers work well with the Easy Lunch Box containers and are leak resistant. The Easy Lunch Box containers fit perfectly in the very affordable Easy Lunch Box insulated lunch box. We’ve used this LifeFactory water bottle for 3 years now. We’ve had to replace the lid once but the bottle has held up through the heavy use of a somewhat clumsy child very well.
I’m not affiliated with any of these companies, just passing on what has worked well for us.
I hope this has inspired you to use up some leftovers and pack a wholesome, well-rounded lunch for you or the kids! What’s your go to lunch?