You want your children to have a healthy lunch, but they want to have a tasty lunch. How do you meet in the middle? Making a healthy lunch that your kids will eat isn’t always easy. A healthy lunch generally includes foods from all food groups and has a variety of colors. Protein, fresh veggies, fruit, and whole grains should are the building blocks to a great lunch.
A healthy lunch starts with pre-planning. Thinking ahead and purchasing all the ingredients for a healthy lunch prior to the beginning of the week, will give you a head start. Pre-chopping fruits and veggies in the beginning of the week is a big help. If your children are old enough, have them help out with preparing their lunch the night before. Kids tend to eat better when they have contributed to making the meal.
Try something new. Instead of the boring sandwich on bread, piece of fruit, and a drink; change it up! Try bowtie pasta with veggies or ham and cheese in a pita pocket. To make food look fun, try taking your usual sandwich ingredients and rolling it up in a whole wheat wrap, instantly you have pinwheels. Only have wheat bread? Use a cookie cutter and make sandwiches into shapes. Try including whole wheat tortilla chips with salsa, fresh berries, and cubed/string cheese. Be creative and encourage your children to try new things. Have a healthy lunch year.
Erika Watson-Lawson is a registered dietitian with Memorial Hospital.