It won't be long before kids will be heading back to school and for the parents to begin packing their lunches again. Organic food is expensive and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches only work for so long.
But Chef Zipora Einav, a chef to the celebrities and author of Recipe for a Delicious Life, says it is easy to stick to a budget on school lunches if you plan and prepare the meals at home in advance.
"Planning a menu and shopping with a list each week helps to manage your budget because you only buy what is needed rather than going to the store each day," she says. "And if the kids are old enough, let them help you prepare their lunches. That is an excellent time to have discussions with your children about nutrition."
Chef Zipora offers these suggestions for preparing a nutritious brown bag lunch for children throughout the school year:
- For a healthier snack, offer baked vegetable chips or sweet potato fries (rather than buying the packaged chips)
- Make home-baked chicken fingers or bake chicken to create a sandwich on whole wheat bread. Add lettuce.
- Include seasonal fruit such as apples, pears and strawberries.
- Does your child have a favorite vegetable like carrot sticks or celery? You can include a hummus dip (which is offered plain or comes in several flavors). You can also add whole wheat crackers such as Wheat Thins or Breton.
"Eating healthy does not need to be expensive," Chef Zipora says, "and preparing the foods can be easier than most people think if they just prepare in advance and shop for healthy groceries."