Packing a healthy lunchbox for your child

Now that we’re a few months into the school year, are you running out of ideas for packing your kids’ lunchboxes? The trick is to find healthy foods that your child likes, but also include a well-chosen treat so he or she isn’t the only child at the lunch table without a cookie or chips. That’s hard for a kid!

I usually recommend the 4-to-1 rule for lunchboxes – four nutritious foods and one treat. So you need a main entrée, fruit, veggie, drink and a small treat. Many kids open their lunchboxes and gobble up the treat first, so keeping it small leaves room in their tummies for the good stuff.

The main entrée can be whatever your child likes – a sandwich, cold chicken, hard-boiled eggs or a thermos of soup.

Throw in fresh fruit or perhaps the packaged fruit cups with no added sugar. If your child eats raw veggies only if she has dip, pack a little container of dip. (Better to eat veggies and dip than no veggies at all.)

Good drinks are milk, chocolate milk and water or occasionally a 4-ounce 100% fruit juice in addition to water.

The treat can be a tiny candy bar or small bag of snack food such as animal crackers or tortilla chips. A homemade cookie or muffin is even better.

If you choose a store-bought snack, read packages very, very carefully – so few are worth eating. The most important thing is to avoid giving your kids snacks containing trans fat, so avoid any food with “hydrogenated” oil on the ingredients list.

Of course these are just suggestions, and you know your child best. So … what do you pack in your kids’ lunches?

Beth Bence Reinke, MS, RD

Everyday Thanksgiving

In the month of October three new members were added to my extended family. Our nephew and his wife had a beautiful baby boy.  Our niece and her husband adopted a son from Korea and brought him home to meet his four-year-old brother who was adopted from the Philippines. Finally, a cousin’s son married a wonderful girl on a beautiful Arizona Sunday evening.  All these happy occasions made me reflect on my life, and how quickly the time passes.

We celebrate happy events like these, taking pictures to remind us of special moments in our lives. But let’s face it, most of life isn’t made of big, celebratory moments. They’re lived in the ordinary.

But isn’t that what makes life truly beautiful?

The everyday things we never even notice are really our richest blessings…a child with dirt all over his face, sun streaming through windows, the crunch of leaves beneath feet, the whir of the washing machine, the dog snoring nearby, the sound of your loved one coming home. All these things add meaning to our lives and without them our souls would languish.

So today, challenge yourself to look at the mundane through different eyes. Breathe in every aroma, feed on the sounds around you, savor the taste of your food. In short, feel the goodness of God in the ordinary.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

Make a list of your ordinary blessings. What are you thankful for today that you may not have noticed–or perhaps even grumbled about–yesterday?


Psalm 143:10 – Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God;  let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

We all have a journey and purpose in this life.  There will be times when things are gliding along in your life pleasantly and smoothly.  When you truly believe anything is possible with God.

Then, there will be seasons in your life when you feel insignificant and small, like a bug.  Challenged by every obstacle you face.  You know that making any kind of progress is going to be a difficult task.  These moments that we face in life are “blessed moments” because we then learn to rely on God.

Whether smooth sailing or raging water ~ when God is directing you, you’re always on solid ground with him.  So move forward in your life with confidence.  God has his hand on you and will guide you wherever you go.

Psalm 143:8 – Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; for I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul.

Prayer – Lord, Thank you for loving me and directing my path.  I want to follow wherever you lead.


Blessings to you,

Melissa Staehli ~

Author of  – I Love You to the Moon


Our Comment Policy on C.C.A.

Dialog is valued by the authors who post on Christian Children’s Authors. We look forward to receiving comments from our readers and try to respond promptly.

The livelier the discussions the better. Which means comments don’t always have to be in agreement with the author’s position in her post. We all find ourselves somewhere on a learning curve and may glean something new from what our readers have to share.

Christians all share the same reference library, The Holy Bible, written 2000 and more years ago, and translated by teams of language experts into the languages of our day. Problems come when different groups come to different conclusions about what it all means.

Christian Children’s Authors are from different denominations. As the owner of this group, I did not ask any of them which church or denomination they belong to when inviting them to be a part of this blog. The bottom line is this: Do we love and teach Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, and does that shine through in the way we write for children?

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It is my prayer that we will always handle differing points of view in a way that reflects the gifts of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23, and that through our discussions people will see “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” reflected in our posts and comments. We trust our readers will do the same.

Finding Balance in Our Words

As a Christian, I sometimes find it challenging to find the balance between using words that sound phony or using words that show sincerity and saying what I think a friend wants to hear rather than the true words of Christ’s love that I know to be true.  Sincerity versus judgement, being fake versus being real can be difficult for all of us at one time or another.

Balancing my words with the human side of my emotions can make a difference in how those words are perceived by others. That perception can bring one closer to God or push them further away, just by how my words are heard. That is an awesome responsibility for me and each of us when speaking to our children, grandchildren, spouse, relative, friend, and especially a stranger.

This very morning after working a 12 hour shift all I really wanted to do was go home. Instead, there in the lobby of the hospital sat a young woman, alone, and in tears. What to do, what does God want me to do? I stopped, touched her shoulder, and asked if she was okay. Simple words so far but my mind was already thinking ahead.

Her story came out in loud sobs, yelling, and with over whelming sadness. She had been called away from her job to our emergency room to be told that her 26-year-old husband had passed away in his sleep from a seizure. She wanted to know what she would tell her 3-year-old. She wanted to know if God was real. She wanted to know if the guilt she felt for not wanting to go to the chapel would be forgiven.

I felt ill equipped, humbled, and if I am honest with myself, slightly sorry that I stopped to check on her. How do I balance my words in the presence of a stranger in her sorrow knowing full well that what I say may make the difference in her life? Who am I to offer any words?

  • I silently prayed for guidance with every sentence.
  • I only spoke the truths as I know them today. As I grow in Christ my answers may change with the next encounter with a stranger but today I spoke as a child of a loving God with the knowledge that God will be with her.
  • I said I was sorry for her loss. Simple, true, and sincere.
  • I told her that God knows her heart whether she is in the chair in the lobby or in the chapel or in her car or in her home alone.
  • I told her to take it hour by hour, day by day.
  • I told her to hug her baby.
  • I told her to let the tears flow.
  • I told her to never stop believing that God is by her side.
  • I told her I didn’t have any answers to why this happened to her. I told her God would make something sweet out of this if she would let him and that she needs to lean on Him.

Did my words sound sincere and true? I hope they did. I couldn’t erase what happened today nor could I take away her pain. As a parent, I can’t always erase what my children are going through either, nor take away their pain. But I can balance my words, acknowledge and validate the feelings of others, and offer a silent presence if only for a moment. 

I find that if I am sincere, offer few words, and less judgement I become the arms of Christ. And that will help balance my words and how they are perceived with my children and grandchildren or those strangers that God places in my path.  How do you balance your words when ministering to others?