Healthy Packed Lunches Your Kid
The healthy school lunch you pack isn’t doing much good if your kid doesn’t eat it. And let’s face it: an equivalent old turkey sandwich day in and outing does get boring. Nutrition is vital, but food should fun, too!
“Just like adults, kids eat with their eyes first, so you would like to possess a lunch that features a lot of colors in it,” says Jennifer Anderson, MSPH, RD, of youngsters dine-in Color.
A healthy lunch “has a balance of nutrients in it,” says Anderson, a mother of two boys ages 4 and 6. “So it’s carbohydrates, protein, and fat… The protein and fat are getting to keep them full and fueled, and therefore the complex carbohydrates are getting to give them energy.”
Here are eight nutritious, kid-friendly lunches that fit the bill.
Upgraded spread Sandwich
The classic PB&J is a lunchtime staple, but eating an equivalent sandwich a day can get old. That’s why Mind Over Munch founder Alyssia Sheikh encourages parents to stay it interesting with new fruity fillings.
“An easy thanks to making it more nutritious is to use straight-up fruit rather than jam. I mashed up a banana and I am using that because of the ‘jam’ with the spread. But I’ve also done sliced strawberries or mashed blueberries…Really, I might say, what’s your kid’s favorite fruit? Mash it up or put in small bites [in the sandwich]. It’s another opportunity to kick it up a notch.”
Sheikh has also put coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds in spread sandwiches. “That’s getting to add some crunch, but also some nutrients,” she explains. “You could [also] use almond butter, cashew butter, or edible seed butter. That’s getting to offer you more nutrients, and it’s getting to offer you a touch more variety than simply spread again and again.”
Any version of a spread sandwich is often a part of a balanced lunch. within the Mind Over Munch video above, Sheikh packed hers with sweet potato chips, savory ants on a log, a coddled egg, strawberry skewers, and chocolate fruit dip.
Pro-tip: A spread (or spread substitute) sandwich makes an excellent lunch “base” on those days when you’re really during a rush. “My kids eat it all the time,” says Anderson, who features a free Picky Eater guide the web site for teenagers dine-in Color. “If you serve a spread and jelly sandwich with an applesauce pouch and few cucumber slices or some carrots on the side, boom! you’ve got an excellent easy lunch that’s getting a few of various colors in.”
Pizza is often a part of a balanced, nutritious lunch, but a chilly, rubbery slice of pepperoni isn’t all that exciting. Little Lunch Love founder Jenny Kalynuik likes to stay it interesting, so she makes pizza kebabs for her kids’ lunches.
The creative mother of two made her popular pizza skewers “by threading slices of pepperoni, mozzarella, and bread on a bamboo skewer,” she says. “I’ve served spaghetti sauce on the side for dipping, a baked good, and much of fresh veggies and fruit.”
You can also make a kid-friendly mini pizza using an English muffin. Klara Knezevic, RD, LD, CLT, says this will be an excellent opportunity “to get some good whole grains in your child’s diet.”
“Then you’ve got the sauce and cheese, and you’ll have veggies and other toppings,” says Knezevic, who works with Rebecca Bitzer and Associates. “I’d also send some grapes or even carrots and a dip. Add a fruit, like strawberries, and perhaps a snack, sort of a cookie .”