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Jennifer’s Back to School Lunch Pack Hacks

By Cassandra Food + RecipesHealth

Lunch pack hacks

Now that school has officially started for kiddos of all ages, we’re bringing you a few more helpful tips and tricks to get back into the swing of lunch packing – the ever-dreaded task. Keep reading for lunch pack hacks directly from my fellow Co-Founder, mom of three and expert healthy lunch packer, Jennifer Garner!

Jennifer’s Lunch Pack Hacks

1. Take out the guesswork

Sticking to a schedule makes it easier for everyone. Your kiddos know what to expect and you know what to prep! Maybe it’s Homemade Pudding Mondays (I’m talking stick-to-your-ribs, you-control-the-sugar, everyone-is-happy pudding – here’s my favorite recipe!), Soup Tuesdays, Wrap Wednesdays (love this veggie wrap by Cassandra!) or Bagel & Cream Cheese Thursdays (my favorite bagel recipe here), for example.

2. Find a staple and stick to it

Smoothies & applesauce are quick additions that are packed with nutrients. Your little ones will love the flavor combinations and you’ll get an extra gold star for sneaking in more fruits, veggies and good fats!

3. Pack hearty snacks

Far too often the main meal goes untouched, so make sure their snacks have some oomph! Cassandra also suggests sneaking in extra nutrition where you can, like sprinkling strawberries with chia seeds or drizzling coconut oil over trail mix. Add crunch with homemade crispy beet chips or kale chips.

4. Let them choose

Take the kiddos grocery shopping so they’re involved in the process. Let them choose some fixings for a fun trail mix or snack and have them build their own. We’re at a nut-free school, so we recently made mixes from the following:

  • Pumpkin seeds (1/2 cup pictured)
  • Sunflower seeds (1/2 cup pictured)
  • Toasted plain rice cereal (1 cup pictured)
  • Gluten free pretzels (1 cup pictured)
  • Coconut chips (1/2 cup pictured)
  • Goji berries (1/2 cup pictured)
  • Raisins (1/2 cup pictured)

back to school snack mix

5. Make a menu

Have the kids make their own lunch menu and have them help assemble. Simple mixes like the one above are a good starting point.

6. Include a sweet treat

Chocolate covered fruits or seeds are always a good option. These homemade granola bars are a fan fave in my family too!

Pretend Cooking Show, Episode 4: Granola Bars

#PretendCookingShow, Episode 4 brings us one of my favorite “pass-it-back” snacks– you know, those easy snacks you can pass back to hungry kids in a car on the way to wherever your afternoons bring you. Here’s a way to make them at home with ingredients you know and can pronounce. #passitbacksnack #sofarsogood #notaprettybakerIngredients:2 cups oats1 cup unsweetened coconut1/2 cup wheat germ1/2 cup sunflower seeds1/4 cup flaxseed2 tbls butter1/2 cup honey1/4 cup brown sugar1/2 tsp salt1 tsp vanillaRecipe:1.) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.2.) Combine dry ingredients.3.) In saucepan melt the butter, honey, brown sugar, salt and vanilla.4.) Mix all ingredients together.5.) Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and pack it all in there.6.) Put in oven for ten minutes.7.) Take it out. Pack it down again and bake another 10 minutes.8.) Yum. Let them cool.9.) If you like chocolate (hands up!) melt some chocolate with a spoonful of coconut oil/Crisco over a double boiler and drizzle over the bars.10.) Cut. Enjoy!🎶: “Scrapping and Yelling” by Mark Mothersbaugh

Posted by Jennifer Garner on Monday, April 16, 2018


7. Keep it fun

I try to include a note, joke, silly drawing or fun fact they can share at the table. I don’t send a note every day, but every now and then I get crafty with them.

8. Weelicious

I really rely on Weelicious – that Catherine McCord knows what she’s doing! Fast, fresh and easy recipes for the whole family are her thing and her school lunch recipes are a hit in my house!

One last tip from years of lunch packing experience and some pretty picky eaters: clean out lunch boxes as soon as the kids get home! We have our kiddos clean them with a grown up present so we can monitor how much (or how little) they’re actually eating. It’s so frustrating!

Hopefully these quick tips can help with your next round of lunch box packing! If you have any tips to share with fellow lunch packers, please share in the comments below!

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