It's that busy time for many families getting ready for back to school. Packing healthy lunches that children will actually eat can be challenging.
Here are a few tips and easy examples:
- Balanced meals should include fiber and protein sources for sustained (slow-burning) energy to last throughout the day.
- Snacks should be planned the same way, including produce or a whole grain to add filling fiber and nut/seed butters (as school allows), cheese or yogurt, nitrate-free lunchmeat/poultry, or hummus for packable protein sources.
- To limit added sugar intake, milk or water is recommended for children. When trying a new food, be sure to pair it with a familiar, favorite food that your child already enjoys.
Some examples of balanced snacks include:
- String cheese or a Babybell cheese (for smaller appetites) and bagged apple slices
- Snap pea crisps such as Harvest Snaps
- Sliced thin cucumbers or baby carrots dipped in hummus
- Plain yogurt mixed with natural applesauce to sweeten
- Graham cracker “sandwiches” made with peanut butter or sunflower seed butter (nut-free)
- Tortilla chips & single-serving guacamole cups such as Wholly Guacamole
Main lunch ideas:
- Turkey and cheese rollups with mustard and whole grain crackers (for younger children) or a sandwich on whole grain bread (for older children)
- Banana and peanut butter “sushi” rolled in a whole wheat wrap
- Pasta and defrosted frozen peas tossed with butter
- Whole grain chicken nuggets and baked sweet potato fries/roasted sweet potato chunks
“Bento box” style lunch is fun for children and they can help pack too: Cucumbers or sliced bell peppers (or your child’s preferred vegetable), hummus for dipping, whole grain crackers and mozzarella cheese balls