It’s that time of year again. Kids are back in school learning new subjects and exploring new realms. One thing that doesn’t change is how important lunchtime is for our school kids.
Their minds may be hungry for learning new things, but their tummies are also hungry for yummy lunches.
Here are a few tips for making healthy lunches that your kids will look forward to eating.
Pick a theme
Tap into your kids’ creative side by following a theme.
- The Dip: Cut a baked chicken breast into strips, and pack them with honey mustard for dipping. Add carrots and broccoli to dip in fat-free or low-fat ranch dressing.
- Backwards: Make an inside-out sandwich using lettuce to wrap turkey, fat-free or low-fat cheese, and tomato.
- Mexican Mondays: Let your child build healthy burritos or tacos with whole-wheat tortillas, lettuce, fat-free or low-fat sour cream, salsa, brown rice, and beans (not refried).
Keep it interesting
Pack a small amount of many foods. Use lots of containers or a bento-type lunch box to keep things interesting. Bento boxes are lunch boxes with lots of small containers or places for different types of food. They’re a fun way to offer healthy foods. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes, add colorful fruits and vegetables in different sizes, and pack yummy dips such as fat-free or low-fat yogurt or hummus.
Skip the white bread
Mix it up. Use whole-grain breads, pitas, and tortillas. And try new fillings.
- If your child loves PB&J, make a peanut butter and banana roll-up. Spread peanut butter on a wholegrain tortilla, add a sliced banana, and roll!
- Fill a pita with your kid’s favorite veggies. Add hummus for flavor.
- Spread pizza sauce on a whole-wheat tortilla, add low-fat or fat-free mozzarella cheese, then melt, roll, and slice.
Mix up the sides. Go past pretzels!
- Dip apple slices in honey.
- Pack snap peas, sliced bell peppers, or cucumbers for color and crunch!
- Add some variety with air-popped, low-fat popcorn.
Don’t forget—juice and sodas can be high in sugar and calories. Instead, pack water or fat-free or low-fat milk.
Source: National Institutes of Health. Visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov for more ideas.