Healthy Lunches for Kids

The kids are back in school!  If you were listening closely last Monday morning around 8am, you heard a collective sigh of relief from parents all over. With the kids back in school, one thing many parents have to add to the to-do list is pack lunch-boxes in the mornings.

It’s not an easy task.  Parents have to balance a fine line when providing healthy, filling lunches their kids will actually eat.  No one wants their son or daughter to trash a healthy lunch and munch on a candy bar instead.  Here are a few tips and ideas to think about when packing a healthy lunch for your kiddos.

  1. Follow this rule of thumb for a healthy approach: Mix a lean protein with whole grains and fresh fruit and veggies.  Add a sensible treat for something special.
  2. Make sure your lunch box is packed safely.  Add a cold pack or frozen bottle of water to keep foods cold until lunch.
  3. Kids love to dunk foods in dipping sauces.  Add a small container of low-fat ranch for dipping carrots or other veggies.
  4. Use mini-size treats for dessert instead of a package of cookies or a candy bar.  Think about things like a few chocolate kisses or a mini Snickers.
  5. Make eating fruit and vegetables fun by creating a kabob.  Add strawberries, grapes and pineapple to a kabob stick.  For veggies, try grape tomatoes, cucumber, and green pepper.
  6. Think outside the box for whole grains.  Add a baggie of low-fat popcorn to the lunch-box.
  7. Cheese cubes are a great way to add some calcium to lunch.  Pair cheese cubes with apple slices for an extra serving of fruit.
  8. Be careful about sending juice boxes for lunch every day.  They are tasty, but most juice boxes have a lot of added sugar.  Try water or low-fat milk instead.
  9. Forget the boring sandwich, mix things up by creating a wrap or bagel sandwich.  Use whole grain tortillas or bagels for added nutritional value.

While you plan healthy lunches for your kids, don’t forget about your health!  Pack yourself a healthy lunch to take to work instead of eating out.  Your kids will love the idea of having a lunch just like mom or dad.

It’s not too late to sign up for Step Up & Scale Down, a 10-week program to help you manage your weight and reach your healthy lifestyle goals.  The class will be held at the Extension Office from 12-1pm every Monday, beginning September 15.  Each week we will have a healthy lunch and a lesson about managing your weight.  The cost of the course is $50 – that’s just $5 per lesson and it includes a great lunch!  Register by calling the Extension Office at 254-435-2331.

Comments are closed.