A great way to boost your keiki's health and immunity is to make sure they are eating healthy foods, at home and at school. Packing a lunch for your child allows you to have some control over what he or she is eating at school and keeps your child from having to buy school lunches. Typical school-bought lunches are meat-based and loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as refined sugars, flours, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. By making intelligent shopping decisions and setting aside time for preparing lunches, you can help your child to stay healthy and give him the energy and focus he needs to succeed in school. Down to Earth is a great place to start looking for tasty and healthy lunch box foods. Following are some simple lunch ideas as well as a few suggestions of products to check out:

A sandwich is a great staple of any lunch. This chart lists some alternative ingredients that can make the typical sandwich more nutritious.

Other yummy options include:

  • Avocado sandwich
  • Nut butter (non-hydrogenated) & Jelly (naturally sweetened with fruit only)
  • Tofu Pattie (pan-fried and seasoned) sandwich
  • Veggie burger
  • Veggie dog

For a main course beyond the sandwich realm, try getting creative with a veggie-hummus wrap. Rebecca from Stanford Wellsphere suggests this recipe: Smear hummus on a small wheat tortilla and add shredded lettuce, cucumber sticks, and any other veggies your kid likes and roll it up. Serve one or two, depending on your kid’s appetite.

Always include a fruit and make it easy to eat. Wash all fruit, pre-cut or peel oranges, and slice apples. If you drizzle lemon juice over the apple slices it will keep them from turning brown. Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce comes in a handy single-serving container. Dried fruit is handy too; Try Stretch Island Fruit Co. Fruit Leather, available in a variety of real-fruit flavors.

Include as many vegetables as possible. Carrot sticks (try Organic Bunny-Luv Baby Carrots) and celery are always good options, but don’t be afraid to try broccoli, snap peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, or green peas. If your child is resistant to veggies, including a sauce or dip will sometimes do the trick. Nut butters, eggless ranch or cream cheese are good ideas.

Yogurt is a handy lunch addition, but make sure it is all-natural; many mainstream varieties of yogurt are filled with refined sugar, gelatin, and artificial colors and flavors. Down to Earth carries Stonyfield, Brown Cow, and Cascade Fresh Yogurt in 6 oz containers.

As an alternative to greasy chips, look for baked varieties, whole grain varieties, soy crisps or rice cakes. Try Lundberg Rice Cakes, Hain Mini Munchies Mini Rice Snacks or Sensible Foods Dried Crunch Snacks.

Mainstream granola bars usually include ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Trade them in for healthier varieties such as EnviroKidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars, Barbara’s Crunch Organic Granola Bars, and Cascadian Farms Granola Bars.

Make your own one-of-a-kind snack mix using ingredients from our bulk bins. It’s economical and you can let your kids help create the mix!

Pack organic foods including milk and juice as much as possible. Shop DTE for Horizon Organic Reduced Fat Milk and Organic Valley 1% Milk in individual septic containers. DTE also carries lunch-size packs of Soy and Rice Dream drinks.

If you pack a juice box, make sure it is 100% juice. We like Hansen’s Natural Juice Squeeze, Santa Cruz juice boxes, or better yet, coconut water! Of course, plain water should always be included.

For a healthier dessert, try some all-natural cookies like New Morning Graham-Wiches or Barbara’s Snackimals.

The habits your child develops now will stick with him for the rest of his life. Consistently packing a well-rounded, healthy lunch for your children (or yourself or your spouse) is a big step toward influencing your family’s health in a positive way. To make it easier for you to shop, we have compiled a list items to help you when shopping for your lunch box additions (note this is not a comprehensive list, but some sample suggestions):

Snacks & Cookies

Stretch Island Fruit Co. Fruit Leather

Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks

Barbara’s Snackimals

New Morning Graham-Wiches

Lundberg Rice Cakes

Hain Mini Munchies Mini Rice Snacks

Sensible Foods Dried Crunch Snacks

Kashi TLC Crackers

Apple Sauce

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce

Milk, Soy, & Rice Milk

Rice & Soy Dream

Horizon Organic Reduced Fat Milk

Organic Valley 1% milk

Juice

Hansen’s Natural Juice Squeeze

String Cheese

Organic Valley Stringles

Yogurt

Stoneyfield Organic Yogurt

Brown Cow Yogurt

Cascade Fresh Yogurt

Granola Bars

EnviroKidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars

Barbara’s Crunch Organic Granola Bars

Cascadian Farms Granola Bars

Cereal

Cascade Farms Purely O’s

Barbara’s Wild Puffs

Produce

Organic Bunny-Luv Baby Carrots

Organic Fuji apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, plums, etc.

Bulk

Dried fruits, nuts, granola, and trail mix

Footnotes: