Hormel August - Back to School

Since August is back-to-school season, one of the topics this month from Hormel was, of course, school lunches. Now this is one of those topics that I happen to like writing about (in case you hadn't noticed).

It's important to make a plan and set goals prior to the beginning of the school year as thinking of healthy back-to-school lunch ideas that children will actually enjoy can be quite the challenge for many parents.  The stand at the fridge 20 minutes before school starts in the morning in the hopes of coming up with a lunch plan?  It doesn't always work exceptionally well.

What does work?  For me, there's some planning, but I also try to have a variety of items in the house to make lunches easier--several kinds of bread, lots of assorted fillings, eggs, veggies, fruits, a few treats, pasta for salads, etc.  I'm trying to build in even more variety this year so that lunches are less boring.

Hormel suggested a few tips too:
  • Veggie sticks are always a great addition to a packed lunch. To add a bit more excitement to please your child, send a small container of hummus to dip vegetables in. For a fresh, healthful addition, try new Peloponnese® hummus spread. 
  • Dried fruit and nuts are a great alternative to a bag of chips or cookies. Toss a variety of nuts together with raisins or other dried fruits and make a homemade trail mix. Throw in some whole grain cereal for extra crunch. Let your child pick out their favorites and create the snack themselves. 
  •  Many families are reluctant to send their child to school with sandwiches packed with deli meats because of the fear of added nitrates and preservatives. Luckily the Hormel® Natural Choice® line of deli meats is 100% natural meat with zero preservatives, no added nitrites or nitrates and no MSG. These meats are also gluten free! Ditch the bread and make roll-ups using your choice of deli meat. 
  • Make water your child’s best friend, as water is one of the most important nutrients for a growing body. Staying hydrated not only helps with physical performance, but mental as well, keeping your child on top of things in the classroom.
Do you set a meal plan prior to the school year? Is it monthly, weekly or daily? Are there certain items that you always include in lunches? What are the biggest challenges you have and your best tips? I'd love to know!

Disclosure: I have received product and information from Hormel Foods in exchange for being a Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger. All opinions expressed within the post are my own.