Healthy School Lunch Ideas
Let’s talk healthy school lunch ideas. Our kids are headed back to a new year of classes and a new year of school lunches. Whether you pack your child’s lunch or they prefer to eat the hot lunch options at school, we can help create the mindset of healthy eating for our children.
I have come up with some fun and creative ways to encourage healthy eating choices, as well as offer parents a few great options for packed lunches. Let’s start with healthy eating choices for our kiddos that enjoy school hot lunches.
Add Healthy Items To The Food Your Kids Love
I believe the first step to assisting our kids in choosing healthy food options is to start at home. Children gravitate to what they are taught through life and employing healthy food at home, helps them to make wise choices at school lunch time. A great example of employing healthy foods at home is cooking foods that your children like and adding healthy items to them. I like to make pizza with the kids and we add veggies they like. My kids enjoy broccoli and green beans and it may seem odd but if I add it to a homemade pizza they are ecstatic.
Children also enjoy having choices when it comes to food. I like to make a veggie and fruits platter. The platter has an assortment of good food choices. At dinner time I let the kids pick out what they want to eat and how much of it they would like. They know that whatever they pick they have to eat and I have yet to have any complaints or unfinished plates. I have found in other areas of life giving my kids the ability to choose for themselves also shows that you trust them to make good choices. This trust in making choices will transcend into the school lunchroom but more importantly into their adulthood as well.
Find Healthy Alternatives
I find that limiting the junk food at home helps greatly in encouraging healthy eating. I’m not saying don’t have any junk food because let’s be honest sometimes as parents we just need a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to make it through the day. Rather, let’s simply decrease the amount of treats and the frequency that they are given. Even phasing out high sugar snacks will help with healthy eating. My kids used to love fruit snacks and believe me it was a battle to remove them from our home but after a week or two it was done and over. Funny thing about kids is they easily forget about items that are not visible. I swapped out fruit snacks for raisins and now they don’t even think about fruit snacks. Small changes really do make a big difference.
Lastly let’s chat about healthy packed lunch options. Packed lunches for our kids offers the greatest ability to encourage healthy eating. A huge trend at the moment is the Bento box packed lunch. Bento boxes are a smaller version of a buffet style meal. The box is separated into little squares that each contain a different food. Bento boxes allow for your children to have many different food options in one meal. An example with my child is that I like to put one protein, a fruit, two types of veggies, and then a healthy sweet snack. So for my sons lunch I will put ground turkey, an apple, raw broccoli and green beans, and strawberries with raw honey on them. I choose foods he likes and foods that offer him good nutrition and helps to boost his immunity.
Lets “Wrap” It Up!
Another great option for packed lunches is sandwich wraps. Wraps come in a variety of flavors from traditional tortilla shells to spinach, tomato, and herb wraps. You can put healthy low sodium and high protein meats in the wraps. You can add fresh veggies and herbs as well. Depending on your kid’s taste preferences, the sky is the limit on what you put in your child’s wrap lunch. Small ways to help add healthy choices is to add bean sprouts, greens, and other veggies to their wrap. An example could be if you make a chicken salad sandwich wrap, you can use a spinach wrap, you can add bean sprouts, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice to the chicken salad. If you are really adventurous, throw in some diced purple grapes to the chicken salad as well.
Above all, do not be afraid to be adventurous and creative with your lunch options. You may be surprised to find your children enjoy the variety of options as well as the adventure of new healthy flavors. And we want to know – what is your child’s favorite (healthy) lunch choice?