If you want your child to head into the new school year with a healthy lunch then planning ahead is the key to your success!
As you begin plans to make sure school lunches encourage “whole and real” foods to get your child’s day started out right. Think about the food groups and plan around them. Always pack a vegetable, a fruit, a whole grain and a protein.
Try to get your child more interested in nutrition by taking them with you when you go shopping for the food to pack in the lunch box. Always encourage the child to pick one new fruit or vegetable when available to encourage trying new things. When it is time to pack their lunch, get the child involved and teach them to pack their lunch along with you. Keeping the child involved will help create more interest in what they are eating and therefore the lunch will actually be consumed and not returned partially eaten at the end of the school day. Make sure to pack their lunch in the afternoon when you and your child get home. If you wait too long you may be too tired to make good decisions and pack whatever you can find that is quick and easy. These are not always the best, healthiest choices.
Finally, which may be considered the most important rule, always put a meal plan together ahead of time and freeze as many food items as you can.
Then decisions are made and there are no last minute trips to the grocery store for the “infamous” Lunchable.
The following are five tips for lunch box ideas and nutritional education for how to fuel your child during the school year!
- Control portion size for health and weight management.
- Take the guessing out as to what your child is eating for lunch
- Get the whole family involved!
- A great way to get back to basics by eating ‘real food’ and eliminating processed food.
- Shop as a team with your kids. Find out what they like rather than what “you” think they should like.
Top 5 items to making a power packed lunch!
1. Make sure your child lunchbox includes foods for the following nutrients: Vitamin D, Calcium, High Fiber, Protein and antioxidants.
- Green vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choy, asparagus, green beans, snap peas, broccoli or cauliflower
- Whole grains/high fiber foods: quinoa, brown rice, chick peas, lentils, beans, sweet potatoes
- Low fat dairy products: kefir, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, milk and chocolate milk
- Fruit: kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, and apples or blueberries
- Protein: meat from chicken, fish, turkey lean beef or pork and meat alternatives tofu, hummus, beans or nut spreads
2. Change the presentation of foods and stop being so boring!
- Sandwiches can be made on banana bread, zucchini bread, sliced/cored apples, wraps or bagels/li>
- Make smoothies and freeze them in ice pop molds
- Use fun vegetable cutters for slicing vegetables
- Use sandwich or cookie cutters for fun shapes
- Experiment with different kinds of lunch box containers or baggies for your kids to enjoy (monster bags by Wexy or reusable bags)
- Use a thermos for soups, pastas or even hot chocolate
3. USE real food. Learn to use foods that have less than 5 ingredients. Use whole wheat, whole grain, milk, meat, vegetables, local bakery, or foods that you make from scratch. NO fast food, NO deep fried food.
4. USE lunch box notes for kids or motivational tips. You can always just put a nice note on a napkin inside your child’s lunchbox.
5. Making a lunchbox with your child is so important. It show’s you care about your child and it gives them the proper fuel for growth and development, helps control the portions and that you have a solid nutritional value to their meal.
To help get you started we have printables for creating healthy lunches and a giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 10 Lunchblox! Enter here: http://bit.ly/LiVeWellLunches
Post by: Liz Bynan