My clients at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness in Raleigh, NC, focus not only on their fitness, but their family’s health and fitness. That’s one reason we have programs for individuals of all ages, from five to seniors who are 71+. I recommend meal preparation to help busy people stay in shape. Since some of my clients want to have healthier meals than schools offer, they’ve asked for school lunches that can be made ahead. These may be called school lunches, but they’re also a great option to have in the refrigerator for the kids even when they’re not in school.
Start by making a meal plan.
Planning your meals is the first step toward success. You can make your own meal plans or use ones that remove any effort, like ours, which also include a grocery list. Once you’ve created your meals for the week and grocery list, take one day to go shopping. Make sure you ate before you do it. While our meal planner provides lunch menus, if you want to opt for something different for the kids, consider what you cooked for your main meals, such as chicken, to use it for their lunches.
Use the meals you cooked to help direct school lunches.
Did you bake a chicken for a delicious meal? Use some of that chicken for school lunches. For instance, leftover turkey, roast, chicken or ham could be combined with cheese for a roll-up. Add a dish of almonds, sliced fresh vegetables and some fresh fruit, like grapes and/or apple slices with crackers and a small container of butter would make a well balanced school lunch.
Find what your kids love and make it ahead.
Besides using the extras from regular meal planning, have some handy favorites to show up in the lunch box on a weekly basis. Does your child love homemade granola? Make it on the weekend and use some of it for lunch boxes during the week. How about healthy muffins? When you’re doing food prep, you’ll have some return favorites, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, hard boiled eggs and hummus or dip. Make these ahead, too. Try a single container taco bowl made from left over meat like ground beef or finely chopped chicken in taco seasoning, cooked brown rice, corn, a small container of salsa and/or sliced avocado, sliced bell peppers and shredded cheese. Add a small bag of nachos for scooping.
- Precut fruit, like apples and pears, stay fresher when they’re tossed in a mixture of one part lemon juice and one part water, then stored in an airtight container. Putting a little lemon juice on sliced avocados also prevent browning for 24 hours.
- Make a salad in a jar. This one is good for teens. Put the dressing on the bottom, add something sweet, like apples, grapes or even sweet peppers. Next add celery, radishes and other veggies, walnuts and top that with walnuts greens and put on the lid. Make a taco version for younger kids.
- Send a turkey protein sandwich box. Make a dressing from cream cheese, seasoned with horseradish, white vinegar, green onion, salt and pepper. Spread it on healthy bread, add a slice of Swiss cheese, pickled sweet peppers, leaf lettuce and sliced chicken/ turkey. Add sliced apples and carrots on the side.
- Switch up the interest in sandwiches by making burrito wraps, flat bread or using pita pockets. You can make these with separate dressing that can be used as a dip or added right before eating.
For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness