As parents, we want our children to have a healthy, nutritious lunch. Unfortunately, most kids prefer Twinkies and potato chips to the apples and vegetable sticks that we so lovingly prepare. The following are tips to help you create a healthy lunch that your child will actually want to eat.
Six Tips For Making Healthy School Lunches That Kids Will Love
Ditch the Fruit Cups
Most fruit cups are loaded with extra sugar. You should opt for whole, natural fruits instead. Bananas, apples, grapes, and melon are all good lunch options. You can even mix berries with Greek yogurt and honey for a tasty dessert.
Opt for Whole Grains
Whole grains retain more of their natural nutrients than refined or processed grains. Whole grains are higher in fiber, protein, and B vitamins than other grains. They can provide energy and help your child feel full through the afternoon. You can incorporate whole grains into your child’s lunch by switching out white bread for whole wheat bread for sandwiches. You can also swap regular pasta for whole wheat pasta for a healthier version of spaghetti or mac and cheese. You can find quality, whole grain bread at Klosterman Baking Company.
Sneaky Alternatives for Veggies
You can up the nutritional value of dishes your kids already love by sneaking in a few extra veggies. For example, you can add some grated zucchini and carrots to your favorite pasta sauce. The veggies will virtually melt away into the sauce so they will be hardly noticeable.
Skip Sugary Drinks
You should avoid sodas and juice packs that are loaded with calories and extra sugar. These drinks are major contributors to childhood obesity and tooth decay. A simple bottle of water is the healthiest lunch beverage option.
Save sugary drinks for special occasions or certain days, like Friday, “just because” to keep them happy and more interested in drinking water throughout the rest of the week.
Avoid Potato Chips
A sandwich and potato chips are the standbys for any school lunch. You can kick up the nutrition factor by swapping the greasy potato chips for low-fat pretzels or air-popped popcorn.
Let Them Help
When at the store, let your kids help pick out snacks they want to eat or make with you at home. Giving them a choice between two healthy options lets them feel more in control while staying away from the unhealthy snacks. You can create a list of preapproved lunch entrées and sides and letting your child mix and match to plan meals for the week.
Making healthy lunches for your kids may have been a battle in the past, but these tips can help them eat healthier without putting up a fight. Small changes and giving them options will make a big impact on your kids.