Packing a kid’s lunch is no easy feat. You either spend a lot of time preparing stuff they may or may not eat, or you just throw some string cheese and pretzels in there and call it a day.
Patricia Dawson knows the struggle is real. That’s why she started Yellow Box, a meal delivery service for kids that aims to provide quality and nutritious foods that are both affordable and quickly accessible to busy parents.
While about half of her customers are getting lunches for their pre-kindergarten kiddos, the other half get meals for dinner time, when busy schedules sometimes interfere with meal prep. Dawson said the meals are ready to eat out of the refrigerator or can be heated.
On the menu are dishes like “Pasta Me Gusta,” which is penne pasta with olives, feta, chicken, green beans and grapes; “Because. BBQ,” which comes with shredded barbecue chicken sliders and steamed broccoli; and “Grandmaster Goyza,” which are chicken and vegetable pot stickers with sweet peas. A black bean brownie accompanies many items for desert.
There are vegetarian options and also ones that exclude common allergens. Most contain gluten.
School lunch tips
Dawson said it’s all about the balance of foods in the meal, but for lunch, the right kinds of healthy fats are key to fueling the brain to learn.
“A lot of people undervalue a filling meal during the day,” Dawson said. “The brain is 60 percent fat and the right meal can help performance.”
Examples of healthy fats include nuts, oils, fish, avocado, eggs and dairy.
“Greek yogurt is a good choice,” Dawson said.
Also, if your kid is not a meat eater, it is important to include other sources of protein.
A cup of edamame, which are soybeans in the pod, contains 17 grams of protein. Broccoli and chickpeas contain less at 4.2 and 2.4 grams, respectively, but also are good lunch choices.
During the summer months, it’s important to add moisture-rich foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, steamed broccoli and pineapple.
“Nothing replaces water,” Dawson said.
Overall, it’s beneficial to keep mixing things up and throwing new items into the repertoire. Your attitude matters, too.
“A parent’s attitude toward a food reinforces what their kids won’t eat,” Dawson said.
In other words, if you share former President George H.W. Bush’s aversion to broccoli, keep it to yourself.
For more school lunch tips, visit https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/top-8-school-lunch-tips-weelicious/.
For more information about Yellow Box, visit https://freshlunchboxes.com/.