1. Review the menu. Why worry about packing a lunch if you and your child can agree on menu items the school provides? Federal laws must be met when creating school lunches. There is a place for chicken nuggets and fries, in moderation, on these menus. Sit down with your kids and go over the menu. Discuss what choices they could make that would taste good and provide good nutrition. When you and your kids talk about what the plan is for school lunch, they’re more likely to pick the foods you want them to eat.
2. Pack Smart. Work as a team to build healthy lunches. Ask your children for their preferences like the shape, size, color, or kind of foods. Try cutting up fruits and vegetables into pieces that are easier and more convenient to eat. Put snacks in plastic bags or convenient containers so that they can eat during classroom snack times. Don’t forget to provide some sweet flavors too. Use Hershey’s Kisses, raisins, mini chocolates, or dates to satisfy sweet cravings.
3. Think portable. Whether in class or at home, try to have portable foods that your kids can grab and go. Prepare snacks like trail mix, fruit cups, whole-grain granola bars, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, string cheese, pre-sliced fruits or vegetables, or yogurt that are easy to grab. Be sure to keep savvy on your school’s policies on snacking if you want to send snacks to school.
4. Best success by example. The best way to improve your family’s nutrition is by example. Put some of these tips into practice for dinner during the school week to improve your family’s nutrition outside of school.
Whether this is your first year or you are getting back into the school routine, now is the time to start thinking and talking about what to eat. Set your family up for success by having your game-plan ready to go. Start your year off right by having an answer to “What do I eat?”
Machowsky, J.(2013). Back to school nutrition tips. Nutrition 411: http://www.nutrition411.com/content/back-school-nutrition-tips-0. Accessed 8/3/2015.