Packing lunch is an opportunity for parents to create healthier habits and provide nourishing foods for their children. Through repeated exposure, your home-packed meal teaches your child to enjoy new foods.
Studies show that establishing healthy eating habits in these early years impacts a person’s food choices later in life. That’s why nutritious lunches are key!
Here are some tips for packing a healthier school lunch to get your school year off to the right start.
Switch to whole grains. Whole grains provide fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients. When packing sandwiches, crackers or pasta, select whole grain versions over refined, white ones.
Plenty of produce. Try to include ½ cup of both whole fruits and veggies in your child’s lunch box. These foods provide the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that growing bodies demand.
Try the dip trick. Since children love to play with their food, try cutting up fruits and veggies into dipping strips and invite them to try different healthy dips, like yogurt, nut butter, hummus, or guacamole.
Skip the processed snacks. Although your child might appreciate the cookies and chips you’re tucking in his or her lunch box, these snacks drive up the salt and sugar. Over time, these foods can lead to weight gain, which can have serious health implications as your child grows up. Instead, try alternatives such as cheese sticks, trail mix, yogurt, air-popped popcorn, or bran muffin bites.
Salad in a cup. Encourage kids to eat their veggies by stuffing lettuce and salad fixings into a plastic cup. Place the dressing in a plastic cup with a lid.
Taco bowl. It’s Taco Tuesday. No shell necessary. Just fill a plastic bowl with meat, cheese, and other favorite fixings.
The information on this blog is provided for general information purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, treatment or evaluation; nor should it be used in diagnosing a health condition. You are encouraged to consult your health care provider if you or a family member has or suspect you have a medical problem.