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3 Simple Words: Daily. Meals. Plan.

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Daily. Meals. Plan.

Three simple little words that can change your life…

Do you remember when brown bagging it was the only option? No, we debate whether it’s worth saving 10 minutes by hitting the drive through of a fast food join versus heading home to whip up some lunch together for your family.

It’s easy to get trapped into the drive-thru rut. I’ve done it. You take a picky eater, a newborn and a over exhausted mother and voila; you’ve got yourself a drive thru habit. For me, it was much easier to just let the newborn sleep during the car ride, stop by and get the picky preschooler a kid’s meal and myself some numbered combo so I could actually eat a meal without it going cold or having to nurse a newborn while eating. I found peace in those 10 minutes of quietness on the drive back to the house. My eldest daughter was nibbling on French friends, my youngest was fast asleep (probably faking sleep and silently counting down the minutes until we pulled into the driveway where she would wake suddenly to cry on and off for a few hours) and I was haphazardly driving the lot of us back to the house while juggling a burger from lap to mouth.

But one day during dinner I started to question this all. My picky preschooler wasn’t eating her veggies which was resulting in epic showdowns. “Have you done it? Just try it! You might like it.” is how it starts… Then it morphs (quite quickly, I might add) into “YOU WILL EAT IT OR YOU WILL GO TO BED!!!” Commence the tears, screams, etc. Endless. Cycle.

I finally put it all together. She was eating poorly during dinner because the lunches I was providing her with were crap. They weren’t good food and the bulk of what she was ingesting was carbohydrates. You can’t stay full on carbs unless you are constantly putting more carbs into your mouth.

I vowed I would start making her (and myself!) lunches. I got consumed with pinning lunch bento box ideas from Pinterest. In a few weeks I found my picky eater to be a happy eater! She was willingly eating her veggies during dinner. She was reaching for fruit for snacks; which she never would do! And I was saving the family money from not eating out as well as dropping a few pounds from the monster calories that a numbered combo meal normally gives you! It was a win-win situation! Here are my tips on packing a healthy lunch for your child and yourself.

I follow this graphic for all meals. I tend to try to make the protein and veggie portions larger than the rest; but this is a great starting point.

myplate_green

  • You pick your protein and grain (which tends to be your main course), like grilled chicken slices, a hot dog (Ball Park or Applegate, I’m not here to judge), PB&J, or cheese quesadilla.
  • You throw in a side of fruit such as apples, applesauce, blueberries, banana, raisins or grapes.
  • You toss in some vegetables like broccoli, baby carrots, shredded cabbage or
  • Insert a little dairy; we both know cheese sticks are our to-go diary snacks if there aren’t any dairy allergies.
  • If you’re feeling generous, toss in a sweet little snack. My girls get excited when they find marshmallows in their lunch! The same structure goes for your lunch.

Us moms are always busy, so find a time to plan out your meals and prep them. I’ve found it’s easier for me to plan the family weekly meals on a Sunday then incorporate the packing of lunches the morning of.

It has kept me sane, and saved me money. Be on the lookout for some awesome lunch box pins on Pinterest www.pinterest.com/lexingtonmommy! What do you pack for lunch?!

judyhike-Guest Post by Judy Shriner, owner/instructor of Fit4Mom – Stroller Strides of Columbia & mom of two

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