In honor of National Nutrition Month, registered dietitian, Casey Harms, is offering up advice to parents on packing a healthy lunch for your kids - that they will actually want to eat!!
Getting kids to eat nutrition dense food can be quite the feat, especially when the same old sandwich gets boring after just the first week of school. Here are a few tips on how to make healthy lunches enticing and provide all the vitamins and nutrients needed to fuel your kids mind and body.
1. Listen to your kids’ suggestions; let them pick the fruit or vegetable in their lunch box. If they feel like they have a say in what goes in their lunch they are more likely to eat it!
2. Take your child shopping with you. There are so many exotic fruits and vegetables in the produce isle, let your child get excited about trying new produce! Let them pick the type of whole-wheat cracker or granola bar that goes in their lunch.
3. Aim to get at least 3 different food groups (protein, grain, fruit, vegetable, dairy) in your child’s lunch.
4. Make sure there is high quality protein that will help to keep your child focused and feeling full throughout the day.
5. Choose low sugar beverages that encourage hydration. Choose something like sugar free crystal light varieties, skim milk, low fat chocolate milk, or dilute 100% fruit juice with sparkling water.
Here are some examples of everyday lunches that go beyond the typical PB&J
o Nitrate free turkey and cheese on whole wheat crackers. Celery and Red apple with a side of peanut butter for dipping.
o Greek yogurt with crunchy topping and side of strawberries. Peanut butter and banana wrapped in whole wheat tortilla.
o Quesadillas with guacamole and unsalted tortilla chips. Side of crunchy red bell peppers and purple grapes. Sugar free chocolate pudding.
o Make your own pizza: buy wheat pita bread and cut into small individual sized circles, add a container of pizza sauce and shredded cheese with turkey sausage. Baby carrots and ranch dressing for dipping.
o Brown rice with crunchy edamame and shredded chicken mixed with low sodium soy sauce. Sliced pears and chocolate covered raisins for dessert.
Casey Harms, RD