Whether you’re packing for yourself or packing for kids, preparing lunches can become a redundant pain in the you-know-what. Who knew that feeding yourself (and/or others) was going to become such a draining process as you got older? I certainly underestimated the work my mom did to keep me well fed while I grew up; packing healthy lunches for myself has truly become a chore – and for those of you packing for kids (picky or otherwise) you certainly have your work cut out for you.
We’re here to help! We’ve searched high and low and chatted to our health professionals to come up with this list of easy to pack lunches and healthy snacks that everyone in the family can enjoy. I won’t lie, a lot of these options are used throughout our own office – massage therapists are specialists at preparing healthy snack options that they can have between clients, requiring them to be quick and easy.
1. Homemade hummus
Don’t be discouraged by the workload related to “homemade.” Hummus is a simple thing you can whip up on a weekend and use throughout the week as a healthy snack and a great way to get some extra protein and brain food for yourself or your kids. It’s really quite simple, and add some rice cakes, plain crackers, pretzels, pita wedges or even vegetable sticks to dunk in to it, and it’s a super filling snack to get you through your afternoon! Pinterest has a lot of simple recipe, check them out here -- > https://www.pinterest.ca/thesneak50/hummus-recipes/
You can play around with adding different seasonings (or seasoned oils drizzled on top) to keep it interesting and exciting for everyone. If making your own hummus seems like a challenge for a later date, there’s also individual size servings available at most grocery stores that are a great option.
2. Weekend prep
Preparing snacks on the weekend for the entire week can be a game changer and a great way to save time. Cut up vegetables and cube cheese. Pre-wash fruit and put them in serving sizes that are quick to grab and go. Hard-boiled eggs, jerky and pepperoni are fun ways of adding in protein to the snacks/meals too (though always be aware of sodium content.) Pre-cutting cubed cheese, pepperoni and a stack of crackers makes a great homemade lunchable kit your kids (or yourself) will find fun – throw in a pickle to make them really happy! If you’re making kids’ lunches, get them involved. Having them do age-appropriate tasks associated with prepping will make things easier for you down the road – have them put a few slices of vegetables in ziplock backs or Tupperware containers after you’ve washed and cut them. Having little bags or containers of precut and washed vegetables, fruits or proteins in the fridge not only make it easy to toss them in to a lunch bag in the morning, but they also make a great after-school/after-work snack!
3. Protein and fruit cups
My mom always made these as snacks for me when I was growing up and I loved them – today, they continue to be a great breakfast or mid-morning snack. Yogurt with fruit for breakfast, or cottage cheese with fruit. A homemade yogurt parfait is so easy to make, and it’s easy to add frozen fruit to make a year-round tasty breakfast or snack. Adding something like granola, bran, or chia seeds is an easy way to add a grain that can change the texture. Cottage cheese is a great source of protein, and adding in sliced grapes, peaches or nectarines is a perfect way to make a healthy snack super tasty!!
4. Random tips and alternatives:
a. Deli-wraps instead of sandwiches. Use a low sodium deli-meat to wrap cheese and vegetables. Variety of cheese with cucumbers, onions, bell pepper and other thinly sliced healthy foods are a nice change from the over-popular sandwiches.
b. Trail mix – store bought or mix your own with your favourite nuts and dried fruits. This is something easy to keep safely stored in your office for those times you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up that isn’t a cup of coffee.
c. Homemade granola bars – a lot of people still use store bought and popular brands but there’s some talk about how healthy they are. Making your own is the easiest way to control what you’re getting, and they’re pretty easy to make. Pinterest has a large variety of recipes, but we love that this way you can put exactly what you want in there! Check out these fun options: https://www.pinterest.ca/cancergran/homemade-granola-bars/
Bonus - breakfast to go:
Need easy breakfast ideas? A quick, on the go option – eggs. Make a simple egg sandwich with an English muffin and premade eggs that keep in the freezer. Using a muffin tin to get a nice, round, baked egg works well. Add bacon, onion, mushrooms, spinach, cheese, anything that you’d like, and bake the eggs and freeze them individually. You can even premake the sandwich with a cheese slice and English muffin and freeze them wrapped in wax paper so you can pop them in the microwave to grab and go!
Use these tips and tricks to make lunches less of a battle for you and your family. What tips have you found helpful over the years? Let us know on our social sites: FB and IG links.