Last week I shared my typical after school snack “formula” and since it’s that time of the year, here is my lunch “formula.”

Lunch formula

My kids won’t eat school lunches (and I sure don’t blame them) which is great for their health, but does mean I have to pack lunches everyday.  To make life easier for me, I came up with a little formula to ensure they have a nutritious, filling lunch everyday.  I just repeat it in my head each night as I prepare the lunch for the next day and I know they are getting a good variety of nutrients!

[tweetherder]Lunch Formula = Fruit + Veggie + Protein + Treat + Drink[/tweetherder]

Pretty simple right?  And so much of it can be done ahead of time.  Making dinner (or after school snacks)?  Chop up extra fruits or veggies.  Leftovers from dinner?  Probably a perfect protein – just package it up in small portions before you put it in the fridge.  Easy drinks?  Keep your water bottles on hand (like my drink station here) and you’ll remember to fill them up in the morning.

I do try for variety each week – at least two or three fruits and veggies to rotate between each week, and a mix of leftovers (hot and cold), sandwiches and cheese/ cracker or hard-boiled eggs for the protein.  The treat is often a small piece of dark chocolate, but sometimes just a note or joke too.  Once in a while I’ll add crackers, granola bars or baked chips for variety – but those typically aren’t everyday.

In the picture above I included cut watermelon, tomatoes and cucumbers, some kale salad leftover from dinner, a hard-boiled egg and this lunch also had a piece of dark chocolate and water (not in the picture).  Simple, colorful and delicious!

Do your kids each school lunches?  If so, what do you pack for them?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments, so please share!

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Shared on Works for Me Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Friendship Friday, Empty Your Archives, The Mommy Club and Real Food Wednesdays.

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