The start of the school year is knocking on your door! You know what that means: winding down the summer adventures, shopping for supplies, and of course, thinking about what you’re going to pack in your kids’ lunches when you send them back to school.
While some kids are satisfied with the same ol’ PBJ every day, most of our kids are a little pickier, so if we want them to eat—and eat healthy—we sometimes have to get a little creative with our lunch planning. And we all know that life gets infinitely more hectic the minute school starts, so now’s the time to start planning for healthy lunches.
Making lunches a little healthier doesn’t have to mean making drastic dietary changes for your little ones. A few small steps here and there can add a little variety and might just help kids form healthy eating habits that could last a lifetime. Here are a few easy tips to get you started.
Be Aware of Your Bread
Instead of processed white bread that has little nutritional value and is high in sugar, try out some of the many healthier, whole nut options on the market.
Roll Up Your Sandwich
Another way to shake up the traditional sandwich is by wrapping it up in a healthy tortilla instead of bread. There are countless fun sandwich ideas online, and most are simple to convert into a wrap instead of a sandwich, making it easy to give the kids healthy ingredients without overloading them with bread.
Make Fruit Fun
Some kids are still hesitant to incorporate a variety of fruits into their diet. You can use small cookie cutters to punch out fun shapes from melons, bananas, apples, or other fruits that are cookie-cutter friendly. The same trick might even help your kids eat more veggies like carrots and cucumbers.
Sometimes the KISS principle is the best idea for kids. A reusable container filled with chicken and rice and maybe a few peas or carrot strips might sound boring to us, but it might also be a simple, easy treat for kids.
Be Choosy with Chips
Let’s face it, kids love chips. You can still keep your kiddos’ meals healthy without denying them this all-too-essential element of lunch. Instead of highly processed and preservative-filled chips, simply look for chips that are made with whole grains, veggies, or even processed with healthier oils. They might cost a little more, but they’ll give your kids the crunchiness they crave without the bad stuff we all hate.
Finally, don’t forget to talk to your kids about nutrition. Get their input on what they’d like to try and what things they might be adamantly opposed to. Don’t try to push foods they “hate” because more than likely, they’ll just dig their feet in more stubbornly. If they have some say in their healthy choices, they’re more likely to become active participants in their own healthy eating habits. And, they might just come around and try those foods they swore were disgusting…some day.