5 Gut-friendly Back-To-School Lunches
Five days at once in little containers, and then you gave them like crackers and cucumber slices and maybe like slices of bread. You can even use cookie cutters to cut out the slices of bread to make it kind of fun. If your kiddos are gluten-free, there are some good gluten-free bread on the market. Like Costco has a good one, for example, or like almond flour crackers that you can use different sorts of veggie sticks. You can even cut the vegetables in fun ways and you could have your kid help pack and put in his or her lunchbox what they want.
One thing to consider if you're going to do tuna salad is to make sure it's skipjack tuna, not albacore, albacore has high mercury. And there are actually case reports of people's memory and brain function getting worse from eating too much albacore tuna because of the high mercury content and mercury can cause brain damage, and memory issues. So make sure it's skipjack tuna.
Some kids have actually adapted the taste to enjoying sardines as well. So if you have a really young kid, I would really encourage learning to share with them as sardines, because that is such a nutrition-rich omega-3 for brain health, low mercury food that you could actually just put the whole sardine container in their lunch bag, depending upon their age. And they can have fun just like opening it, scooping it out. And it's like super easy for you to just throw that in there quick and easy.
So then the other piece of this puzzle is when you're making the tuna salad, you can use either Primal Kitchen avocado oil mayonnaise, or Sir Kensington has good mayonnaise, too. Mayonnaise in itself isn't unhealthy. It's just, that there are unhealthy mayonnaises on the market. And so look for those two brands and they're going to be more, you know, nutrition-rich with good quality ingredients.
Alright, number two. And this is probably my favorite one, but homemade Lunchables. So have your kids make their own lunch. I think that we often underestimate what kids are capable of, especially if we just give them the time and patience to learn how to do it. So you can simply keep a bunch of options in your fridge and then every morning or every evening they can go in and pull their own lunch together. So I created a whole list of different food options that you could keep prepped in the fridge for the kiddos.
And I know some people will actually have like a kid's lunch fridge. It's a fridge specific for their kids, making their lunches, have some fun containers for them to use, reusable containers, reusable baggies, colorful containers, and have them pick out their own containers. Cause that's all gonna make it more likely that they're going to enjoy this process.
So the first idea would be a sandwich, build your own. So you could have like the crackers if dairy is tolerated, cheese slices, hummus, and good quality meat slices. If you're making a whole chicken at home for dinner, just cut that up and then put it in the fridge so that they can put it in their homemade Lunchable for their lunch, that they can then kind of build their own Lunchable at school. I mean, how fun is that? I think Lunchables were my favorite lunch when I was a kid, but we didn't get them very often. It was like a super treat maybe a few times a year for us.
And then the next one, fresh fruits and to make it easier, get fruits that don't require a lot of preparation. So like those fun little clementine oranges, kids love, bananas, grapes, pears, apples, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. And then you could even do dried fruits like those little raisin containers, super easy grab-and-go mango slices, things of that sort. And you can just kind of teach them if they're doing the dried fruits, what size of little travel containers should they use for that? Because of course, those are more nutrient dense versus if they're doing fruits that have a lot more water in them, like the grapes, they could use a bigger size of the travel container.
Hummus, so you could either, if you want to save some money buy the big hummus containers and then separate them into smaller ones. Or if you shop at like Costco or a lot of the other foods stores have this now too, just the mini grab and goes and the mini grab and goes, although it can be wasteful packaging-wise, they can also be better on the other side because they don't spoil as quickly. You can keep them in the fridge for, I would guess at least a month. Whereas as you know, if you open a big hummus container, it goes bad much quicker. And then cottage cheese, I've seen if your kiddos tolerate dairy, you know, the grab and go cottage cheese containers. They can just do that with the fruit. And then going back to the tuna, they actually now make grab-and-go pouches for skipjack tuna and that can be nice to just keep stocked in your fridge. You could keep little like those Sir Kensignton mayonnaise containers are pretty small also if they're going to do a container of that skipjack tuna, they could just grab that whole mayonnaise container, put it in their lunch bag, and then they can mix it all at school.
And going back to number one, then you won't even have to make the tuna salad. Can you tell, I don't really like cooking? Coconut milk yogurts, certainly you can do dairy yogurt if tolerated, but there are a lot of non-dairy yogurts on the market now, too. I'll be creating a whole video about yogurt and how to know if you tolerate dairy, do not tolerate dairy and different brand options. I'll give you a couple of brand options here quickly, which are Maple Hill Creamery and Nancy's yogurt. And Nancy's has dairy, and non-dairy, and you could even make homemade yogurt. Hard-boiled eggs are a really good one because eggs are so nutrition-dense and packed. So just hard boil a whole bunch of those eggs and keep them in a container in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Avocado, so either you can do those guacamole grab-and-go containers, you could prep some guacamole the night before, or just simply cut an avocado in half. And a trick of it is to put it in water. You maybe have seen that on TikTok. I learned it from TikTok, which is so funny how much I learned from TikTok. But just put half the avocado, put water all the way over it. It won't brown, it'll keep well in the fridge for a few days. So then your kid can just grab that half of an avocado and just kind of eat it with a spoon at school. And then certain things like banana chips, sweet potato chips. You can just have a bag, they can portion it out and they could use those to dip with their guacamole or with their hummus. And RX bars and other bars. I'll be creating a whole video about different gut-friendly bar ideas, so stay tuned for that.
But depending upon the age of your kid, etc., they might want something to eat kind of in between, like before sports or if they get hungry in the afternoon. I'd like to mention that I did make a video also about coffee that you might find really interesting. And as far as, is it good for gut health? Not good? Of course, there are a lot of gray areas. So watch the video. If you want to learn more about how much caffeine is in how much coffee is, how it's made, what's the highest caffeine, and what's the lowest caffeine. It's a really interesting video.
Okay, number three is a smoothie. So kinda if your kids like on the go and they, I'm hearing a lot that some kids have a shorter lunch period and or lunches combined with recess and play. So what kind of kid wouldn't want to try to scarf down their lunch, so that they can go have more time to play? And if this is the case for your kiddo, it might be really smart to do like a liquid meal for them.
So a smoothie because it's sort of pre-digested and broken down. So then once it gets into their gut, their body's going to have an easier time absorbing it. They're not going to get an upset stomach. If you make the smoothie the right way, it can be really filling and nutrition dense. But this is key because most people will make smoothies that are very fruit heavy, and they're just not filling. Your kiddos probably going to have a hard time focusing like an hour or two after drinking that if that's the case. So here's the trick when making a smoothie, be very cognizant about adding in enough healthy fats and protein, depending upon the age of your kid, that's about, well determine how much protein they need, but you could do something like full-fat coconut milk that comes in the cans to help make it more filling.
I'll do frozen berries with that. You can add in some avocado with it, nut butter is great, or just pour in some seeds like sunflower seeds, and chia seeds, before you blend it up. And then protein, you're going to get some protein from nuts and seeds, depending upon the age of the kid, they might need a little bit more protein. Some people will do pasteurized, raw eggs in their smoothies, I mean, that's a little bit out there for most people. So that's why a lot of people actually use protein powders. And that would be something that you could schedule with our clinic to kind of talk through what a good option would be for you.
We're also working with a company I'm so excited about this. That's going on in an effort to create a really clean, gut-friendly protein powder. And so once that's closer to market, I'll get to share more about that with you, but it's super tasty. It's probably it's. It is the best-tasting and cleanest protein powder I've ever had. So, super excited about that.
Alright, moving on to number four is soup. How easy is soup? If you're making soup for dinner, just make a whole bunch more and then batch it out for the kiddos during the school days. So in the morning you could heat it up and put it in the thermos. So that by lunchtime it's still hot. They don't have to go and use the microwave. Just be super cautious. If it's a bean soup, now beans can be really great for gut health, right? But if your kiddos have gut issues like excessive gas bloat, certainly it can be making them uncomfortable in class, and hard to focus. And so avoid that. And then also if they're just having a little bit of gas and bloat from the beans, make sure to see if you're properly preparing them.
Are they being soaked for a day, a day or two, are you soaking them with kelp or seaweed, and apple cider vinegar, which can help to break down the oligosaccharides which is the gas-forming property of the beans. Are they being slow, cooked for a long period of time, maybe even another day of just slow cooking them? So all those oligosaccharides get broken down further with some more apple cider vinegar.
So there is a way to properly prepare beans. But again, if you're, if you're kiddo's struggling with gut issues and you're working on fixing the root cause I would just avoid it for now. You could do like chicken vegetable soup or something else of that sort.
Breakfast for lunch
And last but not least number five is breakfast for lunch. Some kids will love breakfast and they would love to have two breakfasts a day.
So for lunch, you could do something like quiche cups. So when you're making like omelets for breakfast or something of that, just prepare a whole bunch more, pour them into a muffin, or pan, and bake it. Most people put veggies and cheese into the eggs, into the muffin tins, and then they come out and you can put a few of those into your kiddo's lunch.
Another really easy grab-and-go breakfast for lunch idea would be overnight oats, so you're just putting oats in like you could do the coconut milk again. Or some people just use water, honestly, let it soak overnight with some other flavorings. So either the chia seeds or like a nut and seed butter to make it more filling or fruits and berries, or the next day you can put the berries on top. There are a lot of recipes online for overnight.
Oats. So basically you could use a Mason jar, prep the night before put it in the fridge, in the morning, it's ready, grab and go. I would include that with something like hard-boiled eggs, just so they're getting some more protein, which helps all the neuro-transmitters function properly in the brain for optimal learning.
I hope you got some new ideas. Let me know in the comments below what your favorite was or what's your favorite kid's lunch is. Also, download our FREE GUIDE: 5 ways to improve gut health! And if you wanna work with our clinic, you can start by scheduling an appointment with us.
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