Packing a Healthy School Lunch

September 4, 2012 | | Bites for Big Kids | No Comments

It’s the most magical time of year- the kids are heading back to school! Time to dust off our bagged lunch skills and get those healthy lunches ready for our little ones. Here are a few tips for keeping it balanced, varied and fun!

Remember the ABC’s of Packing a Healthy School Lunch:
Avoid the lunch “burn out” by packing a variety of lunches for your child
Balance your child’s lunch by including at least three food groups per meal
Create a meal plan for the week and prepare lunches ahead of time

Go In With a Plan

-Ask your child for some input regarding what he or she would like for lunch
-Pick up foods you’ll need from the grocery store for the beginning of the school week. Cut up fruits and veggies and pre-portion snacks like baked chips or pretzels in bags before the week starts
-Take the 10-15 minutes to pack your child’s lunch the night before to avoid the morning rush

Variety is the Spice of Life
Spruce up your child’s usual sandwich with some variety:
-Vary bread choices for sandwiches- try pita pockets, wraps, English muffins, raisin or multi-grain breads or mini-bagels
-For younger kids- cut bread into fun shapes with cookie-cutters to keep lunches fun
-Try “filler” vegetables in sandwiches such as lettuce, tomato, peppers or cucumbers to help fit another serving of veggies into your child’s day
-Consider some unconventional sandwiches such as hummus on a pita, low fat cream cheese and jelly, sunflower butter or veggie and cheese wraps

Break the Sandwich Mold

As long as you provide your child with a balanced lunch it doesn’t always need to be a sandwich.
-Pack cheese and crackers, soup and a wheat roll, single serving cereal with fruit and milk or yogurt with granola as the main portion of your child’s lunch
-Dinner leftovers can be a great source for packing lunches. Add leftover chicken to a salad for the next day or use extra pasta to mix with light dressing, veggies and cheese for a healthy and filling pasta salad.

Mixing up the Sides
-Vary sliced fruits, vegetables, 100% fruit leathers, graham crackers, baked potato chips, granola bars, multi-grain tortilla chips or dried fruit to keep life exciting and offer a variety of different nutrients to your child’s lunch
-Desserts are OK for lunches- but may not need to be there every day. Try some alternative sweets such as yogurt, low fat pudding, fresh fruit or applesauce.

Happy packing modern moms!

Other articles:

Is Day Care Making Our Kids Obese?
For many of us, our kids spend a good amount of time each week at day care. If they eat two or more meals there daily an...
Coconut Chicken
An adult twist on the classic chicken fingers for the kids; this recipe can be adjusted for the whole family to enjoy.
Working with Your Tot’s Taste Buds
Many parents are unaware of one of their greatest tools in feeding their child; knowing your little one’s palate. Yes, a...