Want to pack a school lunch that's nourishing for your kids? Want to make sure your child actually eats it, instead of trading or trashing it?
Use these guidelines to come up with winning fare:
- Avoid heavily processed snacks like cereal bars and chips. Sure, it may be convenient to pluck a package from the pantry, but these products are usually loaded with sugar, salt, and saturated or trans fats - and their nutritional value is sometimes negligible.
- Serve up natural goodness. Whole-grain breads and crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and cheese are all choice ingredients in a healthy lunch. You can even divvy them into snack-sized portions ahead of time to make for a quick morning grab.
- Offer your child some fun with finger foods. Experiment with a variety of nutritious dips and spreads for her veggies and crackers like yogurt, salsa or humus. Boil an egg that she can peel herself at lunchtime.
- Keep it petite. Little people enjoy little portions, and children tend to snack through the day, so consider substituting that double-decker hero sandwich for several smaller items.
- Skip the pop and sweetened juices. They're hard on teeth and they take up tummy space, leaving less room for healthier drinks like milk.
- Consult your kid. There's no better way to ensure he'll eat his lunch than to get his buy-in. Find out what his favorite snacks are, or offer him a couple of choices in the morning. And at the end of the day, ask him what he liked best from his lunchbag.