It is almost back to school time! As we gather school supplies, new uniforms, and stylish shoes let’s not forget about healthy lunches. A healthy lunch ensures students have the nutrition they need to learn throughout the day. It can help boost concentration and improve one’s attitude.
First, you need the right packing accessories. When buying a lunch box, look for insulation and ensure easy access for your child. Size is also important. If you plan on using a certain thermos or packing bottled water you want to make sure it will fit. You also want to make sure it is an easy material to clean, as kids can be messy.
Next, you want to make sure to keep foods fresh and safe. You want to make sure cold foods stay cold by using ice packs. Using a thermos can keep hot foods hot. To keep your thermos warm, fill it with boiling water, close the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes. Drain the water, wipe dry and immediately place hot food into the thermos.
Now it’s time to decide on what to pack! Healthy suggestions include: fresh fruit; crunchy vegetables; proteins such as turkey, hardboiled eggs, or peanut butter; dairy such as milk, yogurt, or a cheese stick; and a starch like bread or crackers. You can also add fruit & veggie dips. Good beverage choices include water, 100% juice boxes, or milk.
The key to success is planning ahead. Take some time on weekends to cut up fruits & vegetables. Utilize leftovers also. Remember to involve your child in the prepping and packing!
Try these ideas:
Protein: turkey, ham, pepperoni, eggs, peanut butter
Dairy: yogurt, cheese cubes or sticks
Fruit and Veggies: carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, grapes, apples, fresh berries
Starch: crackers, bread, pitas, pretzel sticks
Something fun: M&M’s, chocolate chips, yogurt covered raisins or pretzels
Select an item (or two) from each ingredient section to be sure you have a balanced box!
Make sure each item is bite-sized.
Get creative! Include items your child is familiar with and enjoys eating.