Summer has drawn to a close which means we’re dropping our kids off at school once again. It’s a fun time of year filled with Back-To-School events, new classmates and exciting school activities. As you and your family navigate the hustle and bustle of Back-To-School season, ask yourself: are you making your kids' nutrition a priority? Do you know what they're eating for lunch each day? Kids will be kids, and for many, this could mean pizza for every meal. But what our kids eat is enormously important, especially in the middle of the school day when vital nourishment is critical to learning. However we realize that as busy parents, packing a meal that's both healthy and appeals to your children is easier said than done! Here are some top tips we put together, with help from Shoparoo parents, to ensure that your child’s lunchbox is filled with only the nutritious and delicious!

It all starts with a healthy breakfast. You’ve probably heard it before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Get them off to a good start with something that will  give them the fuel they need to thrive both in the classroom and on the playground. Try substituting a bowl of oatmeal and banana for that bowl of sugary cereal.

  1. Let your kids help pack their own lunchbox! Give your kids some independence and responsibility by involving them in the lunch-making process. From the grocery store to the kitchen counter, you may be surprised how much they’ll enjoy spending time choosing fun and healthy options with you. Try asking each night which healthy items they want to pack for the next day - this way there’s a much better chance they’ll actually eat it!

  1. Think outside the (lunch) box. Do you hear complaints about boredom with the same ol’ PB&J? Mix it up with a whole wheat pita turkey wrap or cheese and salami slices with crackers. Pack a homemade smoothie in a thermos for a great mid morning (healthy!) treat.

  1. Lead by example - provide healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If the healthy options at home are plentiful, kids will find it easier to make smart choices on their own. One parent recommended: "Make sure you put it on their plate every day and start at a young age".

  1. Pack what you know they’ll eat. There’s no point sending your kids off to school with anything that will likely end up in the trash can. Work together to find those healthy items that they actually enjoy! "Try to send what you know they will eat because if a teacher, I know they just throw it away uneaten", shared one teacher who uses Shoparoo to raise money for his school.

  1. Make lunch fun! Use a cookie cutter to make sandwiches into fun shapes, cut fruit in new ways (watermelon balls!) or pick a color theme for the day (green grapes, avocado, lettuce wrap for a sandwich, etc). Pinterest is a great place to collect and store your favorite recipes.

  2. Save your favorite recipes and ideas - ones that work for you and your kids! Are you racking your brain every evening for inspiration for tomorrow's lunch? Do yourself a favor and hang on to those kid-tested-and-approved lunchbox ideas as you find them. Pinterest is a great place to collect and store your favorite recipes. (And as you can tell, we're a little bit obsessed with Pinterest).

Follow Shoparoo's board Healthy School Lunch Ideas on Pinterest.