What is for lunch? 3 Simple steps for planning healthy lunches.

Photography by Trent Lanz – Styling by Louise Mellor
English muffin tea sandwiches
recipe below

I think I have this Mom thing down.  I’m not trying to brag,  that wouldn’t be ladylike,  but really … I think I have it down to a science.   I can multi-task like Samantha and I don’t even have to wiggle my nose!  It’s been a long road of trial and error, but I’m on the fourth and last kid, so you would hope I would know a little bit more now than when I first started 20 years ago.   Mornings go something like this: I step out of bed and reach for my leopard robe, turn on the iron, and before coffee has even hit my lips,  they are awake, wearing ironed clothes, and eating a hot breakfast.  By this time the water is boiling and my French press is ready and waiting.   I go to bed thinking about hot pressed coffee with whipped cream and it’s my favorite part of the morning.  Flapjack and Mr. Waffles know what’s coming and no sooner than I press the coffee down, those Doodle dogs are waiting at my feet.  Sitting like perfect gentlemen they wait for me to give them each a lick of whip cream.  

When you are a working mom, you must have a plan, a full proof system.  People are counting on you to make it happen and if you miss a step, it all falls apart.  We all know how a good morning can turn sour if just one person can’t find their shoes …  Getting everybody out of the house dressed, fed, and ready for the day with a nutritious lunch in hand is a full-time job on its own.  From one Mom to another,  here are 3 simple steps for planning healthy lunches.

Step #1  Have a plan.

Flying by the seat of your pants when you are out on a girls weekend, good idea.  Flying by the seat of your pants with hungry screaming kids in the back your  minivan?  Not so much.  Making a list at the beginning of the week will help save you time and energy.  When you are half asleep, wiping up the first cup of spilled juice while trying to pack up backpacks … well let’s just say that knowing what you are packing for lunch will save you.

Step #2 Pack a lunch you can be proud of.

Not all of us can stay home and bake fresh bread like June Cleaver, but it’s just as easy to pack a tangerine as it is to pack a package of cheese crackers.  I think somehow the junk food industry has tricked us into believing that eating processed packaged food  somehow makes our busy lives easier and it’s just not true.   Pack your child’s lunch with food you can be proud of.  Food that you know is  nutritious and is helping them have energy throughout the day.   Changing your child’s eating habits can be challenging but don’t give up, it’s worth the fight.   Just because your daughter doesn’t like strawberries today doesn’t mean she won’t like them next week.  Keep trying new and different foods until your kids develop a hunger for healthier choices.

Step #3  Don’t be embarrassed to ask  for help.

If you don’t know what to pack, ask for help.  If you didn’t grow up with healthy habits it’s sometimes difficult to pass on what you don’t have. Asking for   a little help can change your life. For a little over a year now I have had the privilege of working with the Fresh 20 team developing recipes  for busy families  just like mine.  If you are looking for some help planning out lunch or maybe you just need some fresh new ideas, click on over to The Fresh 20.  The Fresh 20 has lunch and dinner plans that use only fresh, whole, natural ingredients. Each plan comes with recipes, nutritional information, and a shopping list.    

Here is a list of some easy things I pack in our lunch.

Whole grain waffles squares with peanut butter and bananas (Mikey’s favorite)

Blueberries, strawberries, grapes, finger food …

Photography by Trent Lanz – Styling by Louise Mellor

Sliced cheese cut into shapes with cookie cutters

Sliced apples with peanut butter and honey


Photography by Trent Lanz – Styling by Louise Mellor
Leftover pasta salad with veggies

Greek yogurt sweetened with honey with a side of  natural low sugar granola

A thermos filled with hot chicken noodle soup

Photography by Trent Lanz – Styling by Louise Mellor
Veggie dippers with Greek yogurt, salsa, hummus


English Muffin Tea Sandwiches
Recipe type: lunch
Cuisine: The Fresh 20
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • 2 whole wheat English muffins
  • 4 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced - optional
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup strawberries cut in half
  1. Cut English muffin in half
  2. Layer tomatoes on bread. Spread 1 Tablespoon cream cheese on each half. Top with a generous layer of cucumber slices and sprinkle with black pepper.
  3. Place sandwich in container and pack with small ice pack or a snack bag filled with a little ice.
  4. Serve with ½ cup strawberries, 1 hard boiled egg, ½ cup snap peas (if no snap peas are available, use ¼ cup frozen defrosted peas)

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