Back to School Lunch Shopping

I know, back-to-school lunches?  In July?

I’m not losing my mind – my kids are on this thing called a “balanced calendar”, so they go back to school next Monday, August 3.  In exchange, we get extra school breaks throughout the year.  If you aren’t used to it, it probably seems strange, but we love it!

Anyway, after a summer of casual shopping and eating, I need to get back into my routine of shopping for school lunches.  I try to send lunches that are nutritious and balanced and filling, but also not a total pain to pack in the morning.

Are you a school lunch rookie?  Here’s a great place to start:

Lunch bag/containers:  I use all reusable bags and containers.  I can’t stand the waste of plastic baggies.  Just make sure that whatever containers you buy fit properly into the lunch bag before you purchase them.  I have made that mistake before!

Main course:  I always include some sort of main dish.  Sometimes it is leftovers from dinner the night before, but more often, I send something that has been prepped specifically for school lunches.  This week, I made a huge batch of my muffins to keep in the freezer.  When I pack lunches, I put a frozen muffin in each lunch.  It thaws all morning and is ready to eat by lunchtime!  I also frequently make big batches of soup and freeze smaller jars, which are easy to thaw and warm up in the morning, then pour into a thermos.

Dairy:  Organic string cheese or yogurt

Fruit:  I usually just send a whole piece of fruit in each lunch, like an apple or clementine.  WARNING: Bananas and stone fruit do NOT work – they just get squashed.  If you are sending anything that is easily squashed (i.e., grapes, berries) put them in a container.

Veggies:  I buy three or four bell peppers, a bag of carrots, and an English cucumber at the start of each week.  Every day, one of these is cut up and put into school lunches.  If there are any leftovers, I take them along in my briefcase to work for an on-the-go snack.

Sweet:  My kids don’t usually get dessert at lunch at home, but I am a softie when it comes to school lunch.  I always include a small treat.  I love the Trader Joe’s chocolate aisle because they sell small tubs of special treats that are perfect for school lunch.  My favorites right now are the Smashing S’mores, which are super cute and delicious.

Drink:  Water.  Always water.  My kids do not have a drinking fountain in their classroom, and they really only have two or three scheduled drink breaks during the day.  During those, I don’t think they actually get that much water because of all the other kids waiting for the fountain.  So, a Camelbak of water goes into their lunch every day, 3/4 full of ice and topped off with water.  This helps keep everything in the lunch bag cool, and is a perfect temperature by lunchtime.

Happy school year, everyone!


Apple Cider Vinegar Detox "Tea"

I love our summer at the lake.  I am beyond grateful that I get to take a month off with my littles and unplug, destress, and relaaaaax.  


We do a LOT of entertaining.  We have visitors every weekend and sometimes even during the week.  This means we have lots of cookouts, and beer, and s’mores, and chips with dip.  Not sorry about this, because we are relaxing and having fun with friends.  But, my body does a total flipout, as it is directly the opposite of how we usually eat.  

My go-to fixer upper?  Apple cider detox “tea”.

I say “tea” because there is no actual tea in this drink.  It is a hot beverage that isn’t coffee.  So, “tea”, right?

I adapted a recipe I found on The Skinny Confidential...hers was too intense for me, especially first thing in the morning.  

Apple Cider Vinegar Detox “Tea”

  • 3 T apple cider vinegar (the organic good stuff with the “mother”)
  • Half a grapefruit
  • Tumeric
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Raw honey
  • Hot water

First, put your teakettle on.  While the water heats, put the ACV in a BIG mug.  Squeeze the grapefruit so all the juice goes in the mug, and toss the rind.  Add 2 T of raw honey, then sprinkle in a few shakes each of tumeric and cayenne pepper.  (Caution here – you can always add more tumeric and pepper, but can’t undo it if you go too far!)

Pour hot water in until the mug is full, stir, and enjoy.  I have been drinking this “tea” every morning for a few weeks and I have seen major benefits in bloating, digestion, appetite, and skin clarity.  

Refreshing Strawberry Watermelon Protein Shake

I don’t know about you, but workouts in July heat make me THIRSTY.  We had watermelon chunks left over from dinner, so I used them in my shake this morning. It was so cold and refreshing!  My kids say it is the best shake I’ve made yet…

Strawberry Watermelon Protein Shake

  • 2 cups of cashew milk (any milk would work)
  • 2 cups of watermelon chunks
  • 4 scoops of IsaLean strawberry cream 


Turn on the blender and let run until smooth. Makes two large or three small shakes.

This drink has the protein I need, and the refreshing taste I crave this time of year.My daughter wants me to make popsicles using this recipe next!