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.
- 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.
- Make sure your lunch box is packed safely. Add a cold pack or frozen bottle of water to keep foods cold until lunch.
- Kids love to dunk foods in dipping sauces. Add a small container of low-fat ranch for dipping carrots or other veggies.
- 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.
- 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.
- Think outside the box for whole grains. Add a baggie of low-fat popcorn to the lunch-box.
- Cheese cubes are a great way to add some calcium to lunch. Pair cheese cubes with apple slices for an extra serving of fruit.
- 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.
- 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.