School is back in full swing. Our chaotic lives of packing lunches, getting the kids to soccer practice and preparing for Friday’s spelling test has begun. Packing a nutritious lunch that your children will love can be a challenge, but with a plan it can be easy.
First off get your kids involved in packing their lunch. They are the ones eating it after all. When your children get to help pack their lunch they will be more likely to eat it. This is also the perfect opportunity to teach your kids proper portions sizes and making a balance meal. If you’re making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich let them measure 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and spread it on their bread. Explain to your children that peanut butter is a source of protein and their wheat bread serves as a whole grain.
Mornings can be hectic. So instead of rushing around in the morning and throwing whatever food into their lunch boxes, make lunches the night before.
Refer to myplate when packing your children’s lunches. Each lunch should have a grain, a protein, fruit, vegetable and a dairy product. For grains this could be an English muffin, whole-grain bread or pasta. Looking for some protein? Hummus, lean lunchmeat, peanut butter and nuts are all sources of protein. Pack baby carrots, celery sticks or your kids favorite raw vegetables. An apple, banana or orange is an easy mess free fruits to pack. For dairy pack low-fat plain yogurt, low-fat milk or use low-fat cheese.
When packing your kid’s lunch be creative. Making celery sticks into a sailboat or their sandwich into a flower will make their lunch more enjoyable. Use cookie cutter to cut different shape sandwiches, make a face on their mini English muffin pizza, or have a under-the-sea lunch box theme. Just get creative the sky’s the limit!
If you’re worried about keeping your kid’s lunches cold, freeze their water bottles overnight. By lunchtime their water will have defrosted and their lunch box will be cool.
Making simple, fun, delicious and nutritious lunches are easy to do. Making your children a nutritious lunch will keep them full and focused in class through out the day!