When it comes to the question of what’s in your child’s lunchbox, I know a lot of parents first reaction is, “I don’t have time to make lunch for my kids.” Well, that is just a poor excuse. Nobody “has” time. You have to “make” time. Please, for the health and well-being of your child, consider the following ideas. Over the next month or so, I am putting the focus of my articles on healthy school lunches for kids.
As parents, naturally we want only the best for our children. Making them a healthy and nourishing lunch is something that we have control over. I am big on the idea of not forcing people or my children to eat a certain way but by leading by example, and often explaining the benefit of eating this over that. So parents, these lunches will work for you, too.
The first thing you need to do is purchase a good lunch box, ice packs, and containers that you may need for food storage. I choose to use reusable containers instead of plastic bags to lessen my impact on the environment. I have also purchased a thermos to pack hot lunches for when the weather gets cooler. You’ll also want to consider a drink container. Make sure your food and drink containers are non-toxic and BPA free.
Next you need to make a menu. I’ve spent the summer experimenting with different new and healthy meals that would work for school lunch. I’ve created a small menu of about six meal options so far that I plan on rotating throughout the week. I am making a calendar just like they hand out at school with the menu for the month. That way I am prepared. I know exactly what to buy and exactly what I will be making so I don’t have to think about it when we are pressed for time in the morning or tired the evening before. I have also prepared a list of snack ideas that I will have ready to go as well.
Now that you have your menu, go shopping and stock up with the ingredients that you need to pack your child’s lunch. Don’t forget to pack healthy sides like fresh fruit, cut up vegetables, and whole grain crackers. I think it is very important to give kids options. Just like you, they just may not be in the mood for a certain food on a certain day. Sometimes my kids will devour their lunches, other days they just pick at the finger foods. So make sure they have healthy options to choose from that way you can rest assured that they are at least eating something nourishing.
Stay tuned, for in the following weeks I will be including healthy meal and snack ideas.
Corinna Maggy is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist offering private personal training, classes, and weight management programs. She can be reached at 605-3549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.