Our kids are at school for more of the waking hours than they are at home.
Because of that, we as parents should ensure that they eat a healthy lunch and get the nutrition and fuel they need to be able to focus, learn and be active to meet the needs of the school day. The trouble is, how do you know what to pack in their lunch to achieve that goal?
This article will serve as a guide to help parents pack a healthy lunch for their children.
1. Build a better sandwich
Sandwiches are a staple in the lunchbox world, and they provide an ideal opportunity for you to pack some nutrition into your child’s lunch.
Switch up the bread: Whole wheat tortillas, pita pockets, bagels and flatbreads make interesting and nutrition switch ups.
Add some fruits veggies: Think beyond lettuce. Shred up some carrots or zucchini to add to a wrap, or add thinly sliced apple to a turkey sandwich.
Swap the spread: Instead of mayonnaise, bump up the nutrition with hummus.
Ditch the lunch meat: Instead of using highly processed lunch meat in your child’s sandwich, add in leftover grilled chicken breast.
2. Leftover love
Who says a packed lunch has to include a sandwich? Especially in the winter when a hearty, warm lunch would warm up your child in the middle of the school day, consider sending leftovers in their vacuum bottle. Anything from soup to chili, casseroles to spaghetti will keep them full, satisfied and warm all afternoon. This is particularly great for kids who don’t prefer sandwiches, too. Don’t forget to pack a fork!
3. Dip and dunk
For whatever reason, it seems that kids love to dip and dunk things. Why not take advantage of that make lunch time a little interactive while adding some nutrition at the same time? Include things like:
- Apple slices and yogurt dip
- Carrot stick with hummus or salsa
- Bread “soldiers” to dip into soup
4. Get them involved
Finally, one of the best ways to ensure your kids get excited about the healthy lunch you are packing is to get them involved in the choosing and preparation process. If they take ownership of what goes into their lunch and have pride in having helped to make it, there is a much bigger chance that they will happily eat it.
When it comes to raising healthy kids and teens, preventative health care is always the best choice.
The more we can teach our kids how to live healthy lives, including staying active and fueling their bodies with delicious, nutritious food, the more they will grow into the kinds of teens who value their bodies.