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How To Get Your Child To Eat Healthily at School

Updated: Jul 27, 2018

After a relaxing vacation, the alarm clocks are set, the uniforms are ironed and the lunch kits are staring at you waiting to be filled. What do you pack in your kids lunch kits that is healthy, nutritious and your kids will actually eat?

When it comes to ensuring that our children are eating the most nutritious snacks and meals that they possibly can, it is so important to make it fun, make it colorful and keep it clean.

When packing a lunch kit, I like to think about what I would want in my lunch kit as an adult. If my lunch kit is dirty and unappealing aesthetically, or has food I dislike in it, I will tend not to eat it. Especially with young children, a clean and appealing lunch kit can be a make-or-break between successful food day and an unsuccessful one.

An important thing to remember when packing your child’s lunch kit is to try to pack a little bit of a lot of different things, and to remember that QUALITY is more important than quantity. The ratio 80/20 is a helpful hint. 80% of the lunch should be healthy foods that you are confident your child likes and has eaten successfully before, and 20% of the lunch kit should be new things to try that are similar healthy items’ that you would like to see them eat in the future. These should not be the same thing everyday, and should always be offered to encourage your child to keep his or her options open to trying new things.

You can make meals fun by including a short note simply saying “I love you” or “Have a great day.” To help bridge the home school gap.

I also like to provide containers that my children can open with relative ease to make mealtime at school a success. Your child’s lunch kit should most definitely be child accessible and he or she should have some say as to what goes in it.

Busy kids need healthy school lunch to boost their energy and help them concentrate and learn. Here are 5 tips for a healthy lunch kit:

  1. Always include fresh fruit and vegetables. Vary the selection to keep it interesting.

  2. Offer a variety of whole grain bakery breads, that is if you plan on giving your child a sandwich.

  3. Use avocado or grass fed butter as a spread instead of margarine.

  4. Look at the sugar content of juice packs. Limit juice and always send a bottle or two of water.

  5. Kids need a serving of protein at lunchtime. Ensure you include lean meats, eggs, nut free butters (for nut free schools) like sunflower or apple butters, chickpeas or tuna.

Keep it Fresh – packing the lunch kit Its important to keep food in the lunch kit cold to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Pack the school lunch in an insulated lunch kit and include a small freezer brick or freeze a bottle of water and pop it into the lunch kit to keep food cool.

Helpful tips for adding fresh fruit and vegetables in the lunch kits:

  • Kids like fresh fruit cut and ready to eat. Fruit salad is the ideal lunch kit solution; it’s colorful, easy to eat and bursting with vitamins.

  • Offer different seasonal fruits each day for a change in flavor, color and texture.

  • Freeze fruits. Simply pop the frozen fruit into a small seal-able plastic bag or airtight container.

  • If including whole fruit in the lunch kit, select the fruit that is a suitable size for a child to easily hold in their hand and eat (particular for younger children).

  • Peel and slice or cut fruit if possible and choose seedless varieties of grapes, watermelon and oranges.

  • If you are adding tomatoes to sandwiches, place the tomato between fillings and not directly on the bread. This prevents the bread from becoming soggy.

  • When using avocado, mash or drizzle with a little lemon or lime to prevent the avocado from discoloring.

  • Mild tasting and crunchy lettuce varieties like iceberg and cucumbers are ideal for kids.

  • Add leftovers (or cook extra) roast pumpkin or sweet potato to sandwiches and wraps. Naturally sweet and with added antioxidants. Roasted vegetables team well with a range of fillings.

  • Make salads or salad sandwich fillings interesting by using a range of vegetables like grated carrots, snow peas, lettuce, cucumbers, baby spinach, celery, tomatoes and avocado.

  • Use a vegetable peeler to slice cucumber into thin ribbons for sandwich fillings.

How to pack a school lunch kit: Step 1: Starch + Protein Turkey or tuna sandwich {bakery whole grain bread) Sunflower butter and honey sandwich Hummus and crackers Beans and rice Chicken and veggie rice Chili and Pasta Pasta with chicken or turkey and cheese Step 2: Fruit apple, grapes, bananas, applesauce, strawberries, portugal, mango Step 3: Veggies Carrots, celery, salad, corn, cucumbers, broccoli, snow peas, edamame Step 4: WATER My last tip and the most important is Breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and most directly connected to school achievement. Kids who skip breakfast have a shorter attention span, do poorly in tasks requiring concentration and even score lower on standard achievement tests. Research says that children who ate a morning meal took in far more nutrients over the course of the day than those who missed breakfast! Good Luck and Happy Packing!

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