Nutrient-dense lunch ideas your child will love
It is no secret that well nourished children learn better, behave better, and feel better about themselves. Here are some tips to pack your child a nutritious lunch that won’t come home in his back pack.
The most important thing to remember when packing your child’s lunch is that children are often rushed at lunch time and that the school eating environment is full of distractions. The best lunches contain a variety of kid approved nutrient dense choices that are easy to eat.
School lunches are not the place to be trying out new foods. Stick to old favorites and involve your child in making lunch. Ask him if he would like his sandwich in a pita or on bread, if he would like trail mix or yogurt for a snack. Get children to help make sandwiches, fill containers or portion out foods. The more pride and ownership your child feels over his lunch, the more likely he is to eat it.
Your child may not get the chance to get through everything you pack her for lunch so providing her with a variety of nutrient dense choices can give you peace of mind if something comes home uneaten. Try sending a variety of snacky foods like cheese and crackers, veggies with a favorite dip, some melon cubes, some yogurt and some strawberries. If you bake try making mini whole grain muffins or homemade bars. Make a big batch then individually wrap them and put them in the freezer for easy grabbing.
Foods that are high in protein and contain some fat keep kids full and will help them concentrate after lunch. Pack sandwiches or wraps with protein. Think leftover lean meats, spreads like hummus, fish or cheese. Trail mixes and nut or seed butters are terrific snacks as they provide a mix of protein and fat and are great sources of lasting energy.
Remember that children will often happily eat the same snacks for months. If there are fruits and vegetables that your child loves, pack them up. If your child doesn’t usually eat the carrots you give him at home, he likely won’t eat them at school either. Try fresh fruit skewers, veggies with a favourite dip, apple slices with cinnamon. Remember to keep veggies and fruit easy to eat. It can take a long time to peel a stubborn orange.