Can you believe that school is starting in a few weeks?! One of the most talked about topics is “What can I put in my kid’s lunch bag?” We will be going over all sorts of awesome ideas this week that you can use to help make sure your kids are eating healthy foods at lunch time, as well as having a lunch they DON’T want to trade with their peers!!
Here are some great tips to keep in mind when packing your kids lunches:
The 411 Basics for Brown Bagging It:
-Actual time for eating lunch at most schools is only 15 to 20 minutes and is filled with distractions. Make sure the lunch foods you pack are easy to eat, packed in easily opened packages, and don’t require peeling or special tools. Most kids will skip foods that take a lot of effort to eat.
-Have your kids help with preparing and packing your lunch! If they have helped prepare it, they are more than likely going to eat it!
-Small children may not eat very much at one sitting. Think about packing appetizers instead of a large sandwich and whole banana. You can also include more choices if the quantity of each is smaller.
-Small foods are not only easier for children to handle, but they are more fun to eat. Cut sandwiches into smaller pieces, use tiny tortillas for wraps, and serve things like baby carrots, and other bit-sized foods.
-Don’t buy the prepackaged lunches in your grocer’s refrigerated section! These appeal to kids, but aren’t very nutritious. You can pack the same types of snack foods, but use healthier choices for more kid appeal.
-Make sure to think about food safety. Freeze juice boxes or small gel packs and place in the bag. The juice will keep other foods cool and will thaw to just the right temperature and consistency by lunchtime.
-Instead of making sandwiches, consider packing individual sandwich ingredients to let your child make their own sandwich at lunch, or eat the ingredients separately. Many children don’t like to eat more than one food at a time, since their sense of taste is very intense.
-Want to give your kids long-burning energy for focus in the afternoon? Be sure to pack foods that have healthy complex carbs (whole wheat grains, beans) and protein (lean meats, beans, greek yogurt) to have their bodies burn their fuel more consistently. Skip the sugary treats and enriched or highly processed foods, as they will raise their blood sugars dramatically and then plunge downward, causing irritability and fatigue.
-Make sure to include something fun! A sticker, a love note, sandwiches cut into playful shapes, or meats, cheeses and fruits threaded on a caramel apple stick (which is safer than a traditional kabob stick) for their own shish-kabobs!