Lunchtime can get a bit boring for both kids and parents. Sure a turkey sandwich and an apple are wholesome and nutritious, but by the second month of school, it’s pretty monotonous. Start the school year right and stay on a healthful path with these lunch tips for students and parents alike.
Whether you’re packing your own lunch or lunches for the kids, begin with the notion that food is nourishment and meals should be balanced. Include at least one good source of protein such as chicken, tuna, beans, tofu, eggs and cottage cheese. Always include both fruits and vegetables.
Balance and fun really can go together, so make lunch something to look forward to. It may be easier to pack the same lunch everyday, but it’s not enjoyable to eat the same lunch everyday.
Lowfat milk and soymilk are good choices. So are water and other calorie-free beverages. If you’d like a little sweetness in your iced tea, stir in a bit of sucralose or other no-calorie sweetener. A can of zero-calorie flavored seltzer water is also hydrating and fun to drink.
Have an insulated sack or a lunchbox for each family member. Keep cold food cold with reusable freezer packs. And pack hot soups and casseroles in thermal containers. If you can, allow your children to select their own lunch supplies, including a bento box and a lunch bag.
Sometimes you need to race out the door before your dream lunch is packed. Be sure to have lots of grab-and-go options on hand. A few good choices are yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese sticks, tuna in foil packets, canned fruit, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, nuts and hummus.
Take time to plan a few lunches and gather the proper supplies. The whole family will benefit. An interesting and healthful lunch is just what we need to recharge for a busy or demanding afternoon.
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is a registered dietitian nutritionist and diabetes educator in SE Virginia and a paid contributor to Sucralose.org. Through speaking, writing and coaching individuals, she helps empower people to live healthier, happier lives. Jill is the author of three books including Diabetes Weight Loss – Week by Week and 21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Your Heart (http://www.jillweisenberger.com/books/).