I’ve had a lot of questions from moms about how to pack a healthy lunch for their school-aged children. I remember the days when I would take a lunch to school and everyone was excited to see what they could swap with someone else.
It was exciting! And I actually remember when we got a soda machine. Talk about controversy!
Today, families are so much busier and it’s hard, sometimes, to pack healthy lunches for your kids. But it can be done and there are a few things to remember:
It will be a lot easier to get your kids to eat healthy at school if they already do at home. If they are used to endless potato chips, cookies and soda, it will be hard for them to eat carrots, milk and a sandwich for lunch.
As far as a drink, try to pack water, fat free milk or 100% juice options. Your typical juice box is really no better than a can of soda as far as its sugar content. Look at the ingredients on the juice. If it says high-fructose corn syrup, stay away, it’s the same sweetener found in soft drinks.
If your child is getting tired of sandwiches, take those same fillers – meat, cheese, peanut butter, etc.- and roll them up in a whole wheat tortilla. Or throw them into a whole grain pita. Your child will still get whole grains but he or she may find it more exciting!
Finger foods are fun, just make them healthy as well. Swap fruit snacks and chips with trail mix and dried fruit.
Get your child involved in packing his or her own lunch. The sooner you can educate them to make smart food choices, the better off they will be.
Every now and then throw in a surprise. Whether it is a healthy treat or just a note saying “Hi”, your child will feel loved and special no matter what’s for lunch!
Don’t be afraid to pack healthy foods for fear that they won’t eat it. This is why it’s important for them to eat healthy in the home. Our eating habits when we are younger shape our eating behaviors outside of the home and into adulthood.
Do you have any other great ideas for packing a healthy school lunch that kids will love?