Packing healthy lunches doesn’t have to be difficult, it just takes time and planning to ensure you have all you need at home to pack a well-balanced lunch. The problem is being able to pack a healthy lunch which your child will actually eat. To make it a little easier for you, here are some tips to pack healthy school lunches!
Following these 5 tips will help you make sure your children always have healthy options in their lunch box while offering them enough variety to be interesting. Avoid pizza bites and cookies, and instead give your children delicious and healthy lunches, all while making the preparation easier for yourself as well.
#1: Get The Kids Involved
Layout the options for lunches for your kids from the different food groups, and let them choose which foods they want in their lunchbox.
You should take your children grocery shopping with you, and allow them some freedom to decide what you put in the cart. This is obviously only to an extent, and you should only let them choose healthy foods. Allowing them to choose their food gives them a feeling of responsibility, and makes it more likely they will eat the food packed in their lunchbox.
#2: Make Healthy Foods Fun
Look for ways to make healthy foods fun. This could be by using cookie cutters to cut out shapes of health bread, fruits, or cheese. You can also look to use kid-friendly skewers to make fruit kebabs for your children. Making food fun is a great way to get your kids excited to eat their food.
#3: Make Your Own Snacks
One of the best ways to start eating healthier, and to have healthier food to pack into your kid’s lunchboxes, is to make snacks at home and stop buying processed snacks.
Snacks are important to help kids keep their energy up, so making your own snacks gives you control of what goes into them, such as the right nutrients, and less sugar, sodium, and fat.
Here are some great ideas for healthy snacks that kids will love.
#4: Provide All Food Groups
In order to have a healthy lunch, you need to provide your children with all the food groups that go into a balanced diet. Here are some different options to pack for the various food groups:
- Fruits – fresh, dried, frozen, canned, baked, or pureed.
- Vegetables – Fresh, frozen, or baked (chips).
- Lean protein – Deli meats, baked chicken, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, or beans.
- Dairy – Milk, yogurt, or cheese.
- Whole grains – Pasta, pitas, sandwich bread, wraps, or tortillas
#5: Good Hydration
Packing a healthy lunch needs to go hand in hand with encouraging hydration as well. School-aged kids need to drink between 6-8 cups of water a day. Sometimes they need more if the weather is warm or they have sports.
To ensure your child gets enough hydration, let them pick out their own special water bottle. Encourage them to fill it up and drink the contents twice during school. You can also add some frozen fruit to the water to add in some flavour, and to keep it cool!