How To Make Healthy School Lunches

September 11, 2014 in Parenting

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healthy-school-lunch1It really can’t be said enough times – what your child eats at school directly affects his or her level of energy and the ability to learn. Getting together healthy lunch day after day can be quite a task and even though my children are way past the school years, I do remember dealing with this issue and learning as I went along. And if your child is an active participant in sports, you have even more to consider. I am going to keep adding to the school lunch topic on this website – hopefully it will give you the assistance you need and it will make your daily tasks easier!

Think Salads!

Maybe you are one of the lucky parents whose children attend a school with cafeteria that serves fresh salads daily. In that case your job is to encourage your child to try it. It may be as good idea to start packing salads regularly. And in that case, you will need to make sure that the salad includes foods your child likes. That means suggesting items that can make a salad and listening to your child’s ideas as well. Try things like cheese, cucumbers or even bacon bits – you may be surprised at what kids can come up with!

Make Clean Sandwiches

Here is what the word “clean” means: start with whole grain bread, use natural nut butter with strawberries instead of the traditional peanut butter and jelly (if you school allows peanut butter sandwiches at all – you will need to check for that as many schools now ask for parents not to send anything with nuts for their children’s lunches) Another clean lunch you can try is making wraps with chicken strips and greens and add yogurt for an after lunch snack. AS you start thinking “clean” the ideas will just keep coming!

Get Rid of the Juice

Yes – juices are definitely better than sodas, but lot of them are still very high in sugar and calories. Try skipping the juice boxes and replace them with water. If there is a problem with that, try filling a bottle with one part juice and two parts water.

Get Smart with Snacks

No chips please – you can give your child healthier snacks! Try servings of crunchy whole-grain cereals or granola with dried fruit. And if chips are demanded, make your own. It is not difficult – just get some corn or flour tortillas, bake them and season them yourself. And if chips are an absolute must, at least get the low-fat ones!

Fake a Cool Lunch

Let’s think that your child sees another eating pizza for lunch and now wants that as well. Yes, you can create a pizza for lunch – get a whole-grain bagel, spread some vegetable marina sauce on sprinkle with low-fat cheese. And think about adding a low-fat brownie as a treat – that will make the pizza eating child watch in envy!

Think Leftovers

So you go to the trouble of making healthy dinners each day – why not make a little extra and use it for next day’s lunch? For example: if you had chicken, brown rice and asparagus for dinner, pack it into a wrap – your child will love it!

Satisfy the Sweet Tooth

All kids have it so you need to address it. Instead of cookies that can be full of sugar (unless you made them yourself and know what’s in them), think about filling a little container with strawberries. You can even sprinkle a little sugar on them for the extra sweet treat. And since I mentioned making your own – there are thousands of recipes for homemade fruit squares or little muffins you can make in no time!

For more help with your children’s school lunches, check out:

Guide to Healthy School Lunches

Hope this information was helpful to you – please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!

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Great Tips to Make Healthy School Lunches

September 9, 2013 in Parenting

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Healthy lunch boxFirst thing you have to remember is that what your child eats at school is the major source of essential vitamins and minerals needed for developments over the years. The food you pack will give your child the energy and nutrients needed to effectively learn and plan at school. Without sufficient energy, your child may become tired too quickly and find it difficult to concentrate. And just like in an adult situation – if you get hungry you may reach for an unhealthy junk food and so can your child.

In getting ready to plan your child’s school lunch, think about food groups and aim to have at least three or four food groups included. It doesn’t have to be a sandwich – you can get more creative than that! You can use pita, flatbreads, tortilla or even cereal instead of plain bread – it will make the lunch more interesting.

Here are 10 sample lunch combination ideas:

  1. Hard boiled egg, red pepper strips, tortilla or flat bread, fruit yogurt
  2. Tuna or salmon salad, snow peas and carrot strips, yogurt dip for the veggies, cereal snack
  3. Ham on English muffin, baby corn, milk
  4. Cheese cubes, bran or oatmeal muffin, cherry tomatoes, humus dip
  5. Rice cakes, melon balls, pudding
  6. Cottage cheese cup, whole grain crackers, fruit smoothie, sunflower seeds
  7. Cheese filled pasta, zucchini sticks, cauliflower pieces, yogurt dip,fruit
  8. Marinated tofu, sliced mango, bread sticks, chocolate milk
  9. Marinated cooked tofu in a tortilla wrap with shredded lettuce and grated carrot, fruit yogurt

10.  Hot cereal (in thermos) with berries, milk or soy beverage, fruit

Planning snacks:

Think of snacks as mini meals – here are a few ideas:

  • Wholegrain crackers with a cheese stick
  • Fresh fruit with yogurt dip
  • Yogurt and small oatmeal muffin
  • Homemade trail mix: dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, apple rings, sunflower seeds, favourite cereal. You can mix a lot of this ahead of time and store in air-tight container

Get Your Child Involved:

From planning to packing, it is a good idea to get not only your child, but also your family members get involved. If you do that, your child will more likely eat everything that is in the lunch bag – simply because they feel they chose it.

You can have older children help making sandwiches, pita wraps and vegetables and have the younger child do the packing.

Take your child grocery shopping and let him or her choose some of the foods – like vegetables, breads, fruits, yogurts, keeping an watchful eye on them making healthy choices.

Hope this information was helpful to you, please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated

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