As summertime draws to a close, parents everywhere begin to prepare their children for the grind of another school year. Between shopping for school supplies, picking out school clothes and girding themselves for the next round of shuttling the little ones from one activity to the next, it's easy to overlook one of the most important things of all: planning for lunchtime.
While some parents opt for school lunches for their children, others—whether due to dietary restrictions, catering to picky eaters, or simply a desire to have greater autonomy of their child's food choices—go the DIY route.
A key component of Dr Pepper Snapple Group's approach to supporting healthy lifestyles can be boiled down to one word: balance. One way to achieve that balance is by choosing one of the multiple low- and no-calorie beverage options DPS has to offer. And the best part? With the day-by-day menu provided below, you won't even have to think about what foods to pair them with!
Note: The following menu suggestions are not meant to serve as an authoritative nutritional guide. Consult your pediatrician and/or dietitian to determine which lunch options, DPS products, and portion sizes are appropriate for your child.
If your child suffers from a food allergy, substitute acceptable foods when applicable. Please refer to each school's policy concerning foods containing allergens.
Lunch: Baked chicken breast (boneless and skinless), cucumbers, 1 container Mott's Mixed Berry Applesauce
Beverage: Deja Blue Purified Drinking Water
Protein prep doesn't get a lot easier than baked chicken. Many brands of frozen chicken breasts can be popped right into a pre-heated oven with no defrosting necessary. If you're in a hurry and want to bypass the prep altogether, you can opt for the pre-packaged, fully cooked chicken.
Note: If your child is especially picky when it comes to veggies, you might consider including a small serving of ranch dressing. Sure, it's a compromise that ups your calorie count a bit, but sometimes it's best to pick your battles.
Lunch: Mixed nuts, pita with baba ghanoush, string cheese
School lunches are a great way to introduce your children to flavors they may not be accustomed to. With baba ghanoush, you can do just that while also sneaking in a veggie. (Cooked eggplant is a key ingredient.) Don't fret about making it from scratch: Look for the hummus at your supermarket, and there's a good chance you'll find baba ghanoush alongside it.
Lunch: Roast turkey, celery with peanut butter, 1 container Mott's Mango Peach Applesauce
As with the baked chicken, there are pre-cooked, ready-to-eat turkey options for parents on the go. If your child loves celery as is, that's great; otherwise, the peanut butter can be a good way to coax picky eaters to down some fiber.
Lunch: Boiled eggs, carrots with hummus, yogurt
Boiled eggs are another protein that can be prepared fairly easily. (But be warned: You may find yourself eating as many as you pack!)
Lunch: Sliced apples with cashew butter, cauliflower, cookies
Congrats! Both you and your child have made it to the end of another week of lunch prep. Celebrate with some bite-sized cookies (but watch the portion size).