Is your child a picky eater? Are you running out of healthy, nutritious ideas for school lunches that they’ll actually eat? It’s an age-old struggle, but with today’s trend toward healthier living, it’s easier than ever to ensure that your children get the vitamins and minerals they need to keep their energy levels up and attention focused. Here are just a few ideas that may help you in the never-ending quest of what to pack in your child’s lunch that won’t get traded for a chunk of chocolate cake or a serving of greasy fries.
Involve Your Kids
Together with your children, start by compiling a thorough list of foods they agree to eat and that meet with your approval. Once you’ve compiled the list, mix and match items, getting creative with different ways to serve them. For example, if cucumber is the only vegetable that made it on the “will eat” list try serving it with different dips or roll it up with lunch meats and cheese. Let your child help make a week’s school lunch menu choosing from items on the list. Children, in general, are more likely to eat something they helped to create. This allows you to remain in control while giving a child the freedom of choice. If they’re interested, let them help create and pack their own lunches from the items on the list.
The goal is to have variety, colour and to include 3 of the 5 food groups at each meal. Use the five food groups as a guide:
- Meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to creative lunch ideas. Here are a few general tips that might help get new ideas flowing.
• Mix up the breads. Switch it up with 100% whole-wheat or spinach tortilla wraps or 100% whole-wheat pita pockets.
• Use dips. Apple and pear slices to dip into low-fat plain yogurt or peanut butter; carrot, celery and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip. Toss in whole grain crackers with peanut butter, Greek yogurt with berries or a slice of cheese on top of whole grain bread, pita bread or tortillas.
• Add color and texture. Include raspberries, blueberries, broccoli, egg salad, ranch dressing, dark chocolate covered peanuts and raisins. Banana chips and dark chocolate chips, string cheese, grapes, turkey roll ups and almonds are all nutritious. Use cookie cutters to cut bread, meat, and cheese into shapes. Instead of using bread, use kid friendly skewers and alternate lunchmeat, cheese and a vegetable.
• Pack it pretty. If it looks good there’s a better chance they’ll eat it. Bento box lunchboxes are a great idea as they’re already divided into sections making it easy to incorporate different food groups.
Don’t forget the drink.
Keeping your child hydrated is so important. Skip the high sugar juice boxes and caffeinated drinks. Here at gnubees we recognize the health of our children’s bodies and minds are directly affected by the quality of our nutrition. Our naturally flavoured beverages for kids pack a nutritional punch and are loaded with protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium. Our gnubees are made with real fruit juice and come in a variety of family approved flavours like Rockin’ Raspberry, Mango Tango and Go Bananas. And our convenient drink pouches are perfect for lunches, are environmentally friendly and require no refrigeration. Check out our small batch, truly healthy alternative to processed, misleading store-bought drinks at www.gnusante.com. Your kids will love the taste and you’ll love how convenient and packed with nutrition gnubees are.