Parents find it extremely hard to know what to pack in the school lunch box for their kids. They want it to be nutritious and also exciting for kids so that they eat it! And balancing both at the same time can be tough. Here are some tips on packing a healthy lunchbox.
Kids and school lunchbox
Parents and every kid’s caretaker know how difficult it is to make kids eat healthy. Children find junk foods tasty. And they fuss a lot on eating healthy and wholesome foods especially veggies. Therefore, caretakers and parents are at their wits ends when it comes to packing the lunchboxes for school for their kids. They want to ensure that the lunchbox comes home handy and their child finishes it at school.
School lunchboxes should be full of nutritious foods that kids would willingly eat and enjoy it. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health created the Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate in order to make it easy with fun for kids to eat healthily. They wanted to encourage kids to opt for healthy eating for their proper growth and development.
The school lunchboxes for kids should be of good quality and varied. They advise filling half the lunchbox with colorful fruits and vegetables. One-quarter should be whole grains and the rest should be healthy protein. Some healthy fats and milk or milk products would make it balanced.
Healthy lunchbox tips
Emphasis should be on choices, presentation, advance meal preparation, healthy snacks and water.
Choose 1 fruit such as banana, apple, berries, or grapes. Choose 2 veggies such as broccoli, carrot, cucumber, and choose 1 healthy protein such as edamame, nuts, seeds, beans, hard-boiled egg or chicken slices. Also, choose 1 whole grain like quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oats etc. And incorporate some dairy like Greek yoghurt, unflavored milk, cottage cheese etc.
This is of great importance to make kids eat as they enjoy. Cut fruits into various sizes and shapes. Have fanciful lunch boxes. Have some themes for each day such as Mexican, Italian, Chinese, green, rainbow etc.
Meal preparation in advance
This helps save time without comprising on nutrition. Prepare the foods you want to put in the lunchbox in advance and buy it in advance. Cut them beforehand. Involve your kid in food preparation. Let them pack their own lunch box. Finger foods are a great idea for younger children. Search the internet for creative ideas.
These can be had for that extra hunger in between meals. Keep nuts, seeds, cheese, apple slices, berries, soups, carrot sticks for such times.
Water is essential. Many times thirst is mistaken for hunger. Water packed in a school water bottle would keep the kids hydrated and happy. Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks or soda drinks for school. This can cause obesity and metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in them. Other healthy beverage options include fruit infused water, and flavored but unsweetened seltzer.
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The National Academy of Sciences recommends 7 to 14 cups of fluids daily in kids based on their age. They procure some amount from fruits and vegetables. The rest should be plain water. If your child is in athletic sports, sports drinks can be an option.