When school lets back in after the winter break, it’s a great time to revamp lunch. Every parent wants to set their child up for a successful day at school. Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but lunchtime can be the second wind! Treat your little genius like the VIP they are by packing their lunch with variety, involvement, and preparation.
Variety isn’t just the spice of life, it’s the key to an adventurous palate, too! Some kids thrive on routine, and who doesn’t know a kid who seems to survive on PB&J for just about every meal? Variety doesn’t have to mean new; in fact, younger students may find a lunchbox that is too “interesting” to be a stressful moment in their school day. Include healthy versions of foods your child likes and has eaten before. Just about anything can be “healthified” these days: switch out white bread for whole grain, use natural peanut butter instead brands with added sugar, and use all-natural preserves on that PB&J (and a lot less of it).
Variety also means pulling from different food groups. Each lunch should include a good balance of carbohydrate (whole grains, fruits, vegetables), protein (lean meat, school-approved nuts, hard-boiled eggs), and fat (low-fat cheese, nut butters, or hummus are good options).
The next step is involvement. Ask your kids what they want for lunch, and work together to find the healthiest version of it at your grocery store. Check the seasonal fruit and vegetable list from Fresh from Florida and let your child choose one from each list for their lunch that week. When kids feel that they are heard, they are much more likely to eat the lunch you pack.
The final ingredient is preparation. Just an hour of preparation on a Sunday afternoon can save many a hectic weekday morning or evening trying to prepare for the day ahead. Before you put that carton of blueberries away, grab five snack-sized baggies and put a handful in each one. Helping hands can make a healthy trail mix of raisins, whole-grain crackers, and sunflower seeds, and store them in the pantry to be tossed into lunch bags as needed. The time spent on this extra-credit assignment will really pay off when it’s time to cram!
Your kid is a VIP! Treat him like one by packing a lunch that will go from classroom to playground with energy to spare. Before you know it, you’ll all be at the head of the class! Continue reading Be a Healthy School Lunch VIP