Packing a school lunch seems like a simple enough task, but trying to send your kids to school with healthy food they’ll actually eat is challenging.
Here are five surefire ways to pack a healthy school lunch that keeps your kid’s nutrition on track.
1. Don’t Overdo It
Parents tend to pack too much in lunch boxes, like crackers, fruit, chips, and a sweet treat. The bad thing about this is that more than likely, your kid will fill up on all the snacks and not eat their protein-filled main entree.
Instead of sending extra food with your child, think about their eating habits at home. If they don't usually finish a whole sandwich, for example, only send half.
2. Remember Protein
It’s not always easy to pack protein to go. The source has to be something that won’t spoil during the day and will still taste good by lunchtime.
Of course, sandwiches are a good option for the entree if you make them with high-quality meats, but consider adding protein-rich snacks, like yogurt and granola bars.
3. Incorporate Veggies
Your kid won’t even eat vegetables at home. How are you supposed to make them eat their greens when they're away from you?
Try to find at least one veggie your child will tolerate, and then do something fun with it. Add peanut butter or a yummy dressing for dipping, make shapes out of it, or research some other unique ideas for getting kids to eat their veggies.
4. Plan Dinner
A major mistake many parents make when packing school lunches is forgetting to think about what they’ll serve for dinner that evening. But this is crucial to making sure your child maintains a well-balanced diet.
For instance, if you’re having spaghetti for dinner — which is high in carbohydrates — try to limit the amount of carbs you pack in your kid’s lunch.
5. Avoid Processed Products
It’s tempting to stock up on ready-made processed foods that are marketed toward kids. After all, it’s easy to toss a few of these conveniently packaged snacks into your child’s lunchbox and be done with it. And with many of them claiming to provide all the nutrition kids need, why not?
Most of these foods contain high levels of sodium, sugar, and additives. Instead of opting for the easy way out, choose fresh fruits and other healthy alternatives.
To learn more about keeping your kids healthy, reach out to fitness pro and personal trainer Ralph Roberts and be sure to use Ralph Roberts Training's free healthy shopping list!