With the school year starting back up and looking pretty different from years past, it is important for students to be getting the nutrients they need to power through the day. It is easy to throw a few items in a bag and call it a day, but this year can be the year to change that! Whether your child will learn virtually from home or be physically present in the classroom, these healthy lunch suggestions are good to keep in mind when preparing lunch for your kids!
1. Avoid Convenience Foods. Foods like bagged chips and pre-made granola bars can be loaded with fat and sugar. Instead, include homemade, low-sugar treats.
2. Get Your Kids Involved in the Lunch-Making Process. Let them choose which vegetables and fruits they want for the week. They’ll feel more empowered and excited about what they’re eating, which will increase the odds that they’ll actually eat what you pack.
3. Use a Thermos. If your kids are old enough to handle a thermos, consider packing a veggie-rich smoothie or homemade soup. There are many recipes for quick and easy smoothies if you’re pressed for time – and who isn’t at 7am?
4. You can make things easier on yourself by staying flexible and doing a mix of packed and school lunches each week. Check the menu in advance to decide which days you want to make lunch and which days your kids will enjoy eating at school.
5. Avoid Sugary Drinks. Instead, pack water, milk, or reduced-sugar juice.
6. Watch Portion Sizes. Make sure you’re serving the correct portion sizes for your children. Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website ChooseMyPlate.gov for correct measurements.