Guest post from Jess:

With a new school year fast approaching, many parents are starting to think about what they will pack their kids for lunch and snacks to get them through the long school day. My goal each year is to find products that Reagan will eat, but also that will give her sustained energy without the sugar spike and crash that accompanies many packaged food items. I look for products that have very little added sugar, and are gluten, dairy, and soy free. Because of nut allergies at her school, I also have to find nut free products.

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Here are some of my (and my girls’) favorite school lunch components.

We do a lot of deli meat roll ups. I like Applegate Organics brand best. I will pack a few tablespoons of Primal Kitchen Mayo, or an individual pack of guacamole for dipping.

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http://www.applegate.com/products/organic-roasted-turkey-breast

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http://primalkitchen.com/products/mayo/

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http://eatwholly.com/products/classic-100-cal-minis/

I will also do tuna or chicken salad (using the Primal Kitchen Mayo) or Applegate Organic all beef hot dogs.

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http://www.applegate.com/products/the-great-organic-beef-hot-dog-16oz

Another great main course option is left overs from the night before. For this I use the Thermos brand FUNtainer food jar. This keeps hot foods hot for 5 hours and cold foods cold for 7 hours.

Available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Funtainer-Ounce-Food-Blue/dp/B00CBFAE6W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603007&sr=8-2&keywords=funtainer+thermos

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http://www.thermos.com/products/funtainer-blue-food-jar.aspx

Sliced apples, carrots, peppers, and grapes are always good options. And for these I love Keep Leaf brand reusable baggies. They are convenient, easy to open, and dishwasher safe.

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http://keepleaf.com/litterlesslunch

Available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Keep-Leaf-Reusable-Baggie-Planes/dp/B00JU1LHGG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603110&sr=8-3&keywords=keep+leaf

Buddy Fruits Fruit Tubes are a great snack option. The only ingredients are the pureed fruits. You could also freeze them for a frozen treat. You can find these at BJ’s.

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http://www.buddyfruits.com/products/fruit-tubes/

Available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Buddy-Fruits-Fruit-Blended-Berries/dp/B01IL8OP7G/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603227&sr=8-1&keywords=buddy+fruits+fruit+tubes

Ruby Rockets makes a great non-dairy alternate to “Go Gurt”. You can find these on Thrive Market.

https://thrivemarket.com/

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http://www.rubyrockets.com/#!coconut/ps6z9

Crispy Greens makes freeze dried fruits in individual sized packs. There are no additives or preservatives and the only ingredient is the fruit itself. You can find these at Fresh Market and on Amazon.

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http://shop.crispygreen.com/Crispy-Tangerine/p/CRI-000231&c=CrispyGreen@CrispyGreen

https://www.amazon.com/Crispy-Green-Natural-Freeze-Dried-Variety/dp/B00F6MFXCW/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603324&sr=8-1&keywords=crispy+fruit

Sea Snacks are another one of my girls’ favorites. We don’t do a lot of potato chips so this gives them a salty crunch without the unhealthy vegetable oils and with the nutrients of seaweed. You can find them at Whole Foods and on Thrive Market and Amazon.

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http://www.seasnax.com/

https://www.amazon.com/SeaSnax-Roasted-Seaweed-Packs-18-Ounce/dp/B004UB6IFQ/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603389&sr=8-1&keywords=sea+snacks

When we do chips they are always Jackson’s Honest brand. The only ingredients here are sweet potatoes, coconut oil, and sea salt. You can find these at Whole Foods and Fresh Market and on Amazon.

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http://jacksons-honest.myshopify.com/collections/potato-chips/products/sweet-potato-chips?variant=4399375171

https://www.amazon.com/Potato-Jacksons-Honest-Coconut-Friendly/dp/B00PMPFUJO/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603443&sr=8-1&keywords=jacksons+honest+chips

Convenient granola bars are always a tricky one. Most have a ton of sugar, gluten, soy, and nuts (Nuts are only a problem if nut allergies are present at your child’s school). The bar we use occasionally is the Nature’s Path Organic Envirokidz Strawberry Granola Bar. You can find them at Whole Foods and Fresh Market and on Amazon.

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http://us.envirokidz.com/our-products/envirokidz-strawberry-granola-bar

https://www.amazon.com/EnviroKidz-Granola-Crispy-Strawberry-Ounce/dp/B01GF6K3HM/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603531&sr=8-2&keywords=envirokidz+granola+bars

If nut allergies are not an issue for you, I have three favorite bars for my kids:

  1. The RX Bar

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http://www.rxbar.com/products.html?gclid=CJuTgdivrc4CFUslgQodY9gF4w

Sold at Trader Joe’s and on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Protein-Variety-Flavors-weight-single/dp/B01BW71GBG/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603594&sr=8-1&keywords=rx+bars

  1. The Kit’s Organic Fruit and Nut and Fruit and Seed Bars

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http://www.clifbar.com/products/kits-organic/fruit-and-nut

Sold at Whole Foods and on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Clif-Bar-Organic-Fruit-Cashew/dp/B008OTSPLK/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603690&sr=8-1&keywords=kits+organic+bars

  1. The Perfect Bar

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http://perfectbar.com/products/

Sold at Whole Foods and on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/PERFECT-FOODS-Almond-Butter-Ounce/dp/B00TRGX1R2/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1470603773&sr=8-3&keywords=Perfect+bar

All three bars do contain sugar but it is the natural sugar from the dried fruit. This type of carbohydrate is necessary for growing, active kids. The healthy fats in the nuts and seeds provide sustained energy and focus for long days of leaning and play.

Additionally, if nut allergies are not an issue, I love individual packs of almond butter. These are great to pack along with apples, bananas or celery slices. You can find them at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Harris Teeter, and Target.

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http://shop.justins.com/Classic-Almond-Butter/p/JNB-000315&c=Justins@NutButters

Finally, the only drink I ever pack for my daughter is water. Juice (even 100% fruit juice) has way too much sugar and none of the beneficial fiber that would naturally occur in the whole fruit.

I hope this gives you some helpful ideas as you get ready to embark on a new school year!

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