It’s back-to-school season, which means it’s also time to start packing those brown bags again. This year, get your child into a healthy lunchtime routine with these four helpful tips:
- Make Fruits & Veggies Fun: Turn healthy eating into a fun activity by sprucing up boring old fruits and veggies. Cut them into small, kid-friendly pieces and include a dip, such as hummus for carrots, yogurt for berries or peanut butter for apples. Make a veggie salad (with lettuce or pasta) or place different fruits on toothpicks to make yummy kabobs.
- Pack a Variety of Proteins: When it comes to protein, peanut butter is a lunchtime standby. But for those whose child’s school is peanut-free, there are plenty of other options. Make mini sandwich wheels, with whole wheat bread, turkey and cheese (simply flatten the bread, add the toppings, roll it up and cut into small bite-sized pieces). For a warm meal, fill a heated thermos with low-sodium chicken noodle soup or chili. Other protein sources include seeds, nuts and legumes.
- Utilize Leftovers: Last night’s dinner is another great option for a healthy lunch. Repurpose the meal by adding additional ingredients ““ for example, cut up leftover chicken breast and turn it into a portable wrap with your child’s favorite veggies. Have leftover rice or a baked potato? Spruce it up with beans, cheese and some chopped veggies.
- Let Your Kids Participate: Have your kids help pack their own lunch by picking specific foods or ingredients. By getting them involved in the decision-making process, you’re not only giving them exactly what they want (so they’re more likely to actually eat it), but you’re also reinforcing the principles of healthy eating.