Now that summer vacation is coming to a close and the kiddos are headed back to school, it's time to start preparations. Many have already done the school shopping, picked out their first-day outfits, and packed their backpacks with new supplies, but haven't thought about those pesky little lunches that need to be packed. A healthy lunch provides sound nutrition to give students energy to do well in school and for the rest of the day. Healthy lunches are not just for kids, so these tips can be applied to all packed lunches, including the ones you take to work.Here are some tips to take that lunch from blah to healthy in no time! Reusable Containers Make Packing Lunches a Snap Use containers that have separated sections, like Bento boxes. The separate sections allow for more healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and dips, with less waste from packaging. The box's sections also allow for portion control, so you get to decide how much of each food is included. Offer Nutrient Dense Foods Provide a selection of foods such as lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, that will give children needed nutrients. An added benefit of nutrient-dense food is that it makes you feel fuller longer. Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference Switching from white bread to whole grain bread and opting for low-fat dairy products and organics can make a world of difference without noticeably changing the tastes of favorite foods. Also be sure to visit your local farmer's market to buy locally grown produce! Remember, Beverages Count, Too Giving children a healthy lunch, then packing a sugar-filled, high-calorie drink eliminates the efforts of the healthy lunch. Water is the best option for a healthy drink. Make the water more fun by picking a fun, reusable water bottle. (You can always pack a small low-fat milk or real fruit juice to add variety.) Let Kids Choose Some of Their Food Allow your kids to pick some of the healthy foods they will be eating. Giving children the option will make them more likely to enjoy their lunches.
Enjoy those healthy lunches!