If you are like me and have kids in school you are probably deep into the swing of things now with the school year. Backpacks ready, hair combed, teeth brushed, and the dreaded lunch and snack packed. UGH. Definitely not my favorite part of having a child in school. I can’t imagine how this craziness is going to evolve once I have 4 kids in school full time, not just one.
Right now Danica primarily takes hot lunch in the school cafeteria, but occassionally she really wants to bring her own cold lunch and I let her. It is so hard to keep it interesting AND healthy. Besides lunches, both Danica and Kurtis have to supply healthy snacks for school too. I am so excited to share this wonderul “Lunch Box 101” list created by TruMoo which shows how school lunches can be healthy, affordable and a little easier with planning.
1. Instead of a juice drink pouch, opt for a flavored shelf-stable milk box, which provides all the benefits of milk including 8g of protein, Vitamins A and D, and calcium, without high fructose corn syrup or any artificial colors or flavors found in many juice drink pouches. TruMoo single serve milk boxes are a great option. They are available in three flavors kids will love – chocolate, vanilla and plain low-fat varieties, and are free of artificial colors and flavors.
2. Try to include at least one item from each of the five food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and lean protein, to help ensure a balanced meal.
3. For a time-saver, sandwiches can be prepared the night before. Put sandwiches in reusable sandwich boxes instead of aluminum foil to prevent them from getting crushed or soggy.
4. Bite-sized fruits and vegetables are an easy way to add a nutritious and fun staple to lunch boxes. For picky eaters, a favorite dip like low-fat ranch, peanut butter or hummus can help make sure those fruits and veggies quickly disappear.
5. Choose leaner lunch meats like chicken, turkey, and tuna in water, or choose a hard-boiled egg, beans, or edamame as great protein alternatives. This way, kids can get protein with less fat and calories.
6. Keep cold food cold and hot food hot – keeping foods at safe temperatures will prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria. Ice packs and insulated containers are key.
7. Instead of potato chips, try something different with the same amount of satisfying crunch such as: baby carrots, whole wheat pretzels without salt or baked sweet potato chips.
8. Liven up the lunchbox with fun-shaped sandwich and vegetable cutters. Lunchtime should be fun for kids, and they’ll be thrilled to find a butterfly- or dinosaur-shaped sandwich in their lunch.
9. Use leftovers, but change up the presentation by putting meat on whole wheat bread or pitas with sliced tomato or create a rice bowl with leftover veggies and protein.
10. Variety is key to keeping kids happy at lunchtime. Avoid boredom by offering new meal and snack options daily or weekly.
TruMoo sent us a Back to School Lunch Box 101 Survival Kit full of lunch-packing supplies and TruMoo Milk Box coupons. My kids already LOVE TruMoo, but I had never realized they sold shelf stable single serve milk boxes. The boxes are sold in the juice box aisle and do not require refrigeration until opened and don’t expire for several months. My first question was how was this possible.
TruMoo® single serve milk boxes are processed using ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurization. Also known as aseptic or shelf-stable processing, this method allows milk to stay fresh without refrigeration for extended periods of time. Pasteurization practices are standardized and regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
After reading a little more about it online, this an extremely common practice that has been used to make shelf stable milk for many years. It is very common in other countries where refrigeration is not as readily available as in the US. Good enough for me! I love the idea of being able to send milk with my kids instead of juice boxes. The great part is that they love the taste of TruMoo and it is a healthy option offering 8 essential nutrients, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavors.
The only problem I had with the TruMoo Milk Boxes was that they are currently only available in my area at Walmart and the first SEVERAL times I went to buy them they were either sold out or the only ones on the shelf were expired. It was extremely frustrating and I hope the availability will improve soon. I would have loved to try the Vanilla or Plain Low-Fat Milk varieties but they were not in stock when I looked.
Use the convenient Store Locator to find TruMoo Milk Boxes at a store near you! Available in Chocolate, Vanilla, or Plain Low-Fat varieties.
One lucky reader will win their own Lunch Box 101 Survival Kit including: an insulated lunch bag, reusable ice pack, (2) Snack packs and a over a month’s worth of TruMoo coupons. This is a value of over $50.
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Disclosure: I received a sample Survival Kit for the purpose of this review. All thoughts remain my own.