Helping your family have a healthy relationship with food and how I make school lunches easy!
It’s that time again. Back to school time! It’s a time for new beginnings, and a time where families set goals for the upcoming school year. If you’ve been following me for a while and are actively changing your relationship with food you might also be looking for ways to help make changes for your entire family. In this post I wanted to give you tips, recipes and strategies, not only to get you set up for success for school lunches and family dinners (check out this post for my tips on family dinners) but also give you some great resources to help you start making changes for your entire family if that is what you desire.
School Lunch Guide
Let's start with school lunches. This is how I roll. First, I have about a dozen of these Sistema 2 Compartment Lunch Boxes. I send my son with three of these boxes each day which consist of what I would call, "mini meals." I have a ton because we tend to prep out components of his meals for the week and want to be sure we have enough available if the dishwasher doesn't get run. I treat each box like a mini meal. Sometimes my kid is hungry before school, sometimes he isn’t, so I send him with enough to have breakfast, lunch, and a snack if he needs it.
For example: For tomorrow he will have some breakfast sausage with melon, carrots and tomatoes with yogurt, and apples with a muffin.
*Tip- We often make the entire package of sausage to put in his lunch every day for the week and just plop them in containers so we don't have to worry about it. He loves this form of protein and we try to get the most natural option available with no artificial colors or flavors, and no nitrates or nitrites. This is one example. He doesn't even care that it's cold.🤷🏼♀️
For yogurt, I honestly prefer the full fat, Stonyfield whole milk baby yogurt to anything else because it has more fat, less added sugar, and no artificial sweeteners.
For cheese options, again, the most fat possible in the form of cheese sticks and sliced cheese.
As for muffins... I love a muffin you can make a batch of, freeze, then defrost for 20 seconds in a microwave and pop into a lunch box. Here are my favorite muffin recipes that my kid also loves.
Other great make ahead options and serve for multiple days include Oat Balls and Overnight Oats. I will also do a modified version of my overnight oats recipe (which can be found here) by omitting the pumpkin seeds and adding in a touch of honey and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg for my kiddo.
I also love making these high protein oat waffles (the recipe can be found here) over the weekend and making a few extra for my kid's lunch as well. It makes it so easy!
Usually I would match a carb option like a muffin or waffle, with a fruit or vegetable. For proteins I will put sausage, bacon (same criteria for as natural as possible), oat balls, overnight oats, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, cheese sticks or slices, and match that with a vegetable or fresh fruit on the other side. You could also put full fat ranch or hummus in with your kids vegetables. Shelled edamame is another great protein/vegetable option my kid loves that you might want to try. Fruit and vegetables can be chopped and portioned out into these containers ahead of time for the week, so can edamame. Having multiple containers helps us plan ahead and save time. They've also lasted us for years at this point.
Between the muffin recipes I have on rotation, the recipes I've given you above, and some general left overs like homemade pizza or quesadillas, we keep lunches pretty simple. Of course, you can't go wrong with peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey. ❤️. I always go full fat peanut butter and usually use the Jif Natural kind.
Fostering a healthy relationship with food for your family.
This book was amazing!!! Raising a Happy Healthy Eater They give you so much great information in this book for every stage of eating. In one of my recent podcasts (link here) I highlighted some of the tools from this book that I plan on implementing with my 4 and a half year old. Apparently they have camps, classes, a garden... I would highly recommend buying this book and checking out their website. I am getting zero royalties, I just really loved this book.
Helping your child understand their emotions.
This was another amazing book but this one is geared towards children. Listening to My Body to help children connect the sensations in their body to their emotions so they can better understand what they need. What a novel concept! (Ding ding ding🎉) I wish this book was around when I was little. It is a seriously so good. A must read for anyone with kids who is interested in helping their children develop emotional intelligence.
How to overcome your child's picky eating.
I know the best people... seriously. In this podcast (link here) I did an interview with my friend, Dr. Beth Conlon, a pediatric dietitian and nutritionist who helps families overcome their child’s “picky” eating habits in her private practice. In this podcast, she gives some amazing tools and a peek inside how she can help your family get control back over meal times and foster a healthy relationship with food. I am so excited for you to check out this podcast and to connect with Dr. Conlon if you are looking for more individualize support.
Making Dinner Time Fun With "Sticks."
If you are a CRNA or a have even been to a doctors office, you recognize these tongue depressors. They also double as an amazing tool to help your family connect at meal times. Each stick has a question on it like, "who did you play with at recess?" "Who got in trouble today and why?" "How did you make someone laugh today?" They are tongue depressors with great questions to connect with your kids and help them open up about their world. If you are in the Richmond, VA area I know two sisters who would love to make these for you. They made us our first set of sticks and it has been such a fun family tradition. ❤️
As always, if you are on your weight loss journey and are looking to permanently lose the weight and end your battle with food, we are here to help. Click here to connect with us on a free consultation to learn more about our coaching program can help you get the results you want. 🤗
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Be sure to check out all my other recipes and weight loss tips on the blog.