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Good To-Go: Lunch Tips for a Family On-The-Go

From Executive Chef at Jams, Ginger Pierce.

As a working mother of two, I am always looking for new healthy and exciting meals to feed my children. Being a chef doesn’t necessarily make it easier, as no two kids are alike, and can have ever-changing tastes.

Getting kids on a healthy eating regime is hard for any parent. It can be really tempting to reach out for convenience foods, especially for school lunches as the pressure of ‘back to school’ mounts. 

Add in the tastes of a picky eater and the challenges of working full time and you could find yourself facing daily anxiety. Here is my advice for working parents, trying to get their kids wholesome foods on the go:

GET EXCITED
More often than not, food positivity comes from parent’s own attitudes about food. It’s not always going to work, but I have found if you show your children you are excited about the things that you prepare they will share in that excitement on some level.

MEAL PREP
If you want to get really organized, write a weekly menu. This will help the ease of shopping as well as prep. My suggestion is to have categories like fruits, vegetables, salty/fun snacks and proteins. It’s a good way to ensure you’re preparing a balanced meal.

SIMPLICITY IS KEY
Every kid is different, but it’s always good to give yourself a few easy wins. For my kids, carrot sticks, popcorn, grapes, apple sauce, dried fruits and almonds are winners across the board.

EXPLORING NEW TASTES
One of my boys will eat any kind of fruit, the other is partial only to specific kinds. I am a strong believer that you should never give up on your kids having a change of heart about a certain kind of food… but don’t make yourself crazy. You can pad the meal with healthy things you know they will eat, while still trying to sneak in some adventure for them. 

FIND YOUR GROOVE, NOT A RUT
Over time it will become clear which things work for you and which don’t, but don’t be scared to throw a wild card in every once in a while. Sushi rolls can be a great activity that you could share with your child and can be made ahead of time. One of the best things about it is that the fillings and flavors can be changed based on individual tastes.

LEFTOVERS RULE!
Some leftovers make excellent lunches, and with a few tweaks, can feel like a whole new meal. Cooked proteins can usually be re-purposed into sandwiches or wraps and pitas are a great vehicle for reinventing last night’s food.