With the start of the new year, many adults start to think about cleaning up their eating habits. There is no reason as parents we can't pack a healthier lunchbox for our children to eat at school.
The trick here is to make sure that you involve your child in the packing of the lunch. As a seasoned lunch-packer, I have learned that giving my child a choice will help ensure the lunch actually gets eaten. It is as simple as asking, "do you want carrots or cucumbers?" Remember, just because you pack it doesn't mean they will eat it, but by giving them a choice it will increase the likelihood it actually gets eaten.
Each lunch I pack I try to include a protein, fruit, and veggie first. Then I will fill in the lunch box with other items. Generally speaking, sugary snacks are limited to once a week and/or used as a surprise. Maybe on Friday, they will get a cookie or a sweet treat or if I know they have a test that day a little sweet treat in the lunch box is a nice surprise.
Lunch Box Tips
- Involve your children
Empower them by taking them to the store and allowing them to choose the proteins, fruits, and veggies they want in their lunches. Have them help pack the lunch.
- Limit processed foods
By packing your own lunches at home you can ensure the quality of meat, cheese and other items in the lunch.
- Make it fun
Using cookie cutters to shape cheeses, meats, and sandwiches help make lunch exciting.
If you're new to packing healthier lunches take your hints from the grocery store. These days even large coffee chains are offering "protein boxes". See what items they include like: hard boiled eggs, hummus, guacamole, nuts and cheese along with fresh fruits and vegetables and use that to help inspire your lunch boxes.
- Hard boiled egg, cheese cubes, cucumber quarters, roasted almonds, and fresh blueberries
- Chicken wrap made with leftover roasted chicken, lettuce, and swiss cheese, guacamole and tortilla chips, fresh strawberries, and raspberries
- Thinly sliced baguette with turkey pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, cucumber coins, raspberries and blackberries
Don't be discouraged if your child doesn't eat their entire lunch. Sometimes you need to introduce foods several times and in several ways before they actually "like" it. Also, other days maybe they were just being too chatty at the lunch table to focus on eating. This has happened to my social butterfly children many times.
Happy 2018 and happy packing!