“Additive-Free” Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

Summer is coming to an end, and this is the time of year that questions start flying about how to pack healthier (i.e., more natural) “kid-friendly” school lunches!!

I hear from so many parents who are willing to put the time and effort into making lunches for their kids to take to school each day….but they inevitably run out of ideas.

Over the next few weeks, I will be compiling here all sorts of ideas for parents to use when packing lunches this school year – ideas from readers, from other blogs…from anywhere I can get my hands on them.

Hey…perhaps you have an idea or two (or suggestions for posts/articles on other sites that I can add to the list below)? Please share your info/ideas in the comments section below, and include as much detail as possible. You’ll be helping SO many other parents. Trust me! 🙂

Alright, so here’s what we’ve compiled, so far. But check back frequently, as we hope to be adding to this list daily! (Please note: I have not personally tried all of these products or recipes; this is simply a compilation of ideas from readers and the Internet. Also, links outside of CompletelyNourished.com likely contain some recipes that are NOT additive-free, so read carefully!)

RECIPES & MEAL IDEAS

STORE-BOUGHT SHORTCUTS

  • Cooked Shrimp (at places like Whole Foods Omaha, you can even find a couple seasoned varieties on the Shrimp Bar that are additive-free and ready-to-eat!)
  • Rotisserie chicken (again, at Whole Foods Omaha, you can find chickens in the deli area that are ready-to-eat and very simply seasoned – and ingredients are labelled!) Of course, you can roast your own chicken, but this can save you in a pinch if you’re short on time…or energy!
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers brand pretzels
  • Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • Dried Fruit – Look for varieties that contain no added sugar, oils, or sulphur dioxide. Trader Joe’s carries a pretty good variety, as do many natural food stores.
  • LaraBars
  • Foods Alive Flax Crackers
  • Trader Joe’s Olive Oil Popcorn – Contains just organic popcorn, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt
  • String Cheese
  • Raisins
  • Fresh Fruit (Tip about oranges: The rind on clementines is thinner and easier for small kids to peel themselves! Tip for fruits that brown easily – sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to prevent browning.)
  • Carrot sticks and other fresh veggies
  • Frozen veggies
  • Plain potato chips or corn chips – Definitely not a health food; but perhaps a “compromise” choice if you can at least find a brand with basic ingredients
  • Canned fruits or applesauce – Some stores (especially health food stores) carry brands with no added sugars or preservatives. Look for brands that contain just fruit (and possibly fruit juice). Pineapple chunks are usually available at most stores.
  • Nuts – Look for raw (not roasted) or dry roasted. Only ingredients should be nuts (and possibly salt). These are generally available in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, so don’t panic if you don’t find any in the snack nut section. Nuts are great to combine with raisins (and perhaps the chocolate chips listed above) for a homemade trail mix.
  • Organic/no-sugar-added apple sauce from Trader Joe’s.
  • Trader Joe’s carries a variety of grass-fed cheeses.
  • Some stores carry hard-boiled eggs (yes, already cooked) in the produce or deli department.
  • Prepackaged Snacks for School (from “100 Days of Real Food” blog)

EQUIPMENT:

MEAL PLANNING & GENERAL TIPS

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Salad with Chicken & Fresh Veggies

I just LOVE to cook once and eat twice (or more)!!! And this is the perfect meal for doing just that! We smoked 4 chickens yesterday, and now we have tons of meat leftover. (You could also roast your chickens, instead – we use the smoker because we can fit more chickens in there. LOL!) Or you can use leftover grilled chicken…or grill some up fresh just for this. Whatever works! 🙂

Tonight we enjoyed organic salad mix from Costco topped with leftover smoked chicken meat; fresh tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers; and homemade Italian Dressing!

I tossed in some Italian flax crackers on the side for good measure, too! 😉 Click here to read more about those!

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