Back-to-School Stress

>> Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Researchers say that back-to-school is one of the most stressful times of the year (second only to the December holidays). Rushing around to get new clothes that fit, sharpening all those new pencils, and downloading new music for the iPod -- and that's just for moms/dads, what about for the kids?!?

I always found that one of the most stressful parts about back-to-school is making lunches for the kids. Healthy lunches. Healthy lunches that the kids will actually eat and not "trade away." And before you cynics say anything, yes I do make lunches for my kids. Yes I'm a dad and yes I make lunches for my kids.

A few weeks ago we did a post on healthy fast food options for us adults (, but what about school lunches for the kids?  

I know that Michelle Obama is working to improve the school lunch program. But let's face it, there's going to be a lot of brown-paper-bag lunches from all of us before that ever gets fixed. So with a renewed focus on wellness, I decided to start the new school year out right. I decided to do a little research.

There's an amazing amount of advice available on the web, with just a couple simple searches. Here's a site that I found particularly good:

From the range of sites that I quickly found, here are a few of my favorite little tidbits of advice.

1- Make it mini: kids love to eat bite size portions. So give them mini parts of healthy foods that they can pop in their little mouths. Like mini carrots and small pieces of celery instead of the whole stalk. They are much more likely to munch on them. Grapes are also a perfect pop-em snack.

2- Don't be the boss: take the kids shopping and let them pick out their own lunch food. They are much more likely to buy into the choices if they have helped to make them.

3- Roll it: take a low-fat deli meat and a low-fat cheese and roll it into a tortilla. Low fat, lots of protein, and much more fun to eat.

4- Stack it: take some whole grain crackers and stack them together with a little low-fat cream cheese and low-sugar jelly. It's like a sandwich but not quite as ordinary and hopefully less likely to be thrown out. And a lot less carbs without the bread.

5- Keep it fresh: if you are worried about the food not staying fresh while in the lunchbox, freeze it the night before. It'll thaw in the morning in time for lunch.

As I mentioned, there is a ton of advice on the web about making healthy lunches -- just do a simple search. I am by no means an expert. Just a dad who wants to make healthy lunches and a marketing guy who is committed to wellness.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


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