Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lunch Made Easy: Back to School - What about Mom & Dad?

We all know "Back to School" season is upon us. That means early mornings, homework, after school sports/ clubs, and packing lunches.

As parents, we are so caught up in our kids lives and focusing on them... but what about us? What about lunches for Mom and Dad too?

While you're adjusting to the new school routines, go ahead and plan for yourself. If you start at the same time as back-to-school, it won't feel like "extra" work but an every day routine.
Proof is in the (sugar-free) pudding: Let me give you a little back story to why I changed my own life by packing lunches for myself, not just for Little Miss --

I can pin point the time it all changed, it was November of 2010. Even though I had been packing lunches for Little Miss since just before she was two years old, I never took the time to really focus on what I was eating/ doing.

Sure, I'd pack my own lunches here or there - a sandwich, greasy chips, candy, or whatever frozen microwave meal was on sale that week. I'd skip breakfast most days and since I was a single mom, I'd eat whatever was quick (cheap) and simple (not always healthy) for myself at dinner time too.
Typical "work lunch" I pack: Fresh fruit smoothie for breakfast, spinach salad,
additional fruits, hard boiled egg, lunch meat, etc. I snack on this throughout
the day to keep my metabolism up plus it leaves me full without all the guilt!
I decided to make a change. A life changing decision. I was going to make smarter, healthier decisions.

When I would pack Little Miss' lunch, I would cut extra fruit and veggies for myself. Take the few extra moments to fill my own EasyLunchBoxes container with nutritious foods my diet was severely lacking.
Add variety and color; It's always more appealing and appetizing
for kids AND adults!
At this point, I also stopped drinking regular soda (I hardly drink diet now either, maybe once a month) and started running. Within a few short months I was already seeing drastic changes in my healthy, weight, and overall mood. It's amazing - When I'm healthier, I'm happier. DUH Keeley! ;)

Taking five more minutes of my evening to focus on *me* was worth it. I shake my head why I never did it before...

Ditch the greasy chips! Snack on fresh veggies and fruit at work.
I feel like I eat more now than I ever did before, but what I'm putting in my body is healthier and better for me.

Every person is different and depending on the changes you make, even small ones (like avoiding the fast food lane by packing lunches) can make a big impact!

I can also say proudly I have lost almost forty pounds since starting my journey in November of 2010, and I actually achieved that number last summer, but have been happily maintaining that loss since.

It's not about the numbers though. It's about being healthier.
I have more muscle. I have more energy. I'm happier. I know that I am putting good foods into my body.

Fruit salad of fresh berries, low fat cottage cheese, cauliflower, & carrots
So what does all this mean? Mom and Dad, it's time for a lunch intervention. Our children look to us - they are our "mini-me's". We must lead by example. It's time to pack it and pack it healthy!

The more fruits and vegetables I eat, the more my daughter does. She is interested in trying and eating them when she sees me enjoying them! Helpful suggestions: I also play it up! This is how I got Little Miss to love spinach SO much. When I sat down with my own salad at the table, I would go on and on about how delicious it was, how it was so full of vitamins and helped make you big and strong. She finally decided that "yuck" was a "yum" and tried it. Now, she prefers spinach over regular lettuce or romaine.

Where do I start? Instead of waiting until New Year's to make the resolution to make a change and be healthier, START NOW.

As I mentioned above, back to school is the perfect time to get into the routine. If you start by packing your own healthy and fresh meals, along side your kid's lunches, it will soon become second nature - a normal every day routine instead of feeling like "extra work".

Cauliflower crunch salad, turkey roll ups, and grapes
Ideas or inspiration needed: I don't always share pictures/ posts of my own lunches on the blog (the ones pictured in the post are all ones I've made for myself) but you can often find them by following me on Instagram (@KeeleyMcGuireBlog).

If you're looking for an amazingly healthy, lunch planning site for your entire family, I highly suggest MOMables. A comprehensive meal plan site that gives you pictures, step-by-step instructions and ideas, plus a shopping list to make it easy. MOMables does the work for you! The menu items are also easily adaptable for food allergies and dietary needs. - click to view a FREE sample menu!
I also recommend Ludicrous Mama of "Biting The Hand that Feeds You". She shares her healthy mama lunches, alongside her daughter's, on her blog and instagram pages. Plus, I love her humor so it makes reading her blog fun instead of a task to keep up!

Mama lunch idea from "Biting the Hand that Feeds You"
Bentoriffic packs the most *amazing* looking lunches for her husband every day. She blogs vegan, plant based diet bentos.

Baby green salad with baby bok choi and spinach by Bentoriffic
More instagram inspiration can be found by two of my favorites, @amy_elise & @debjord who share their healthy, adult packed lunches almost daily. Amy packs vegan, colorful bentos that make me drool! Deb is a mom, works full time, and manages to prove that *anyone* can take the time to pack healthy lunches for their family.

Start now! Don't wait because you won't do it.
Change your habits, change your life.
You'll save money, be healthier and happier.

Side Note: This post is by no means meant to sound preachy or paint a perfect picture. I'm human. Of course I've had fast food and sweets since November of 2010, lol, but now it's all about moderation. It's also not meant to be a "how to lose weight / diet" posting. Healthy eating and decisions is the focus.

By making simple changes to my lunches and foods I eat during the work week (choosing sugar-free chocolate pudding over a candy bar to get my "chocolate fix" or fresh fruit for snack instead of a grab-n-go gas station bag of potato chips) I've significantly changed my health and the example I'm setting for my daughter, by making more nutritious decisions.

Plus, now you have a fun excuse to buy more bento supplies and containers. It's for your health! ;)


  1. I love all of the adult meal inspiration! It's so easy to forget that we need to eat well too :)

  2. Great post!! I would add saving a few dollars as another reason for packing lunches. Using leftovers for lunch helps me maximize the food we buy each week. And you're right-we're all human. But eating smart (colorful) lunches during the week makes splurges on the weekends not feel so guilty. Thanks for the mention!

  3. I love this post. It is SOOOOO true! And it also reminded me that I need to make that cauliflower crunch salad.

  4. I started eating healthier BECAUSE I was packing for Z too. Since I already had the foods out... and the EasyLunchboxes come in multiples for the same price most guys sell just ONE (HALF) box for, there were boxes for me too. And since I started when she was young and we ate together, she got to see me enjoying my healthy foods too.

    Great post, and a wonderful message!

  5. Love the taking care of yourself theme. I think we (moms) need that reminder daily! So, thanks for the reminder. And thanks for the shout out, momma!

  6. I am so inspired! Love to eat healthy and quick!

  7. Lots of yummy lunches and an inspiring post.

  8. These are all fantastic ideas!! Thank you for linking up!


Let me know your thoughts!

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