The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that today’s school meals include more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, low-fat instead of high-fat milk, and sensible limits on calories, unhealthy fats, and salt. This is because nutritional standards have been revamped to ensure better nutrition for all of the 31 million children attending school in this country today.
However, as parents, we know best as to the eating habits of our kids. We are better equipped to make healthy choices that school meal providers may be unable to make due to school restrictions. Some of these choices include the options to cut down on sugar, use organic foods, or use antibiotic-free meats
Today’s child eats almost half of their meals at school every day. It is important that these meals fuel them through the day and help them stay healthy, happy and teachable. To help keep your kids in peak health, it pays to keep tabs on what they eat at school. One of the best ways to do this is to send them to school equipped with a kid-friendly, healthy lunch in hand.
Here are some tips to help you prepare a healthy lunch that your kid will want to take to school, more importantly, want to eat, and that will keep her or him in peak performance through the day:
- Use colorful divided “bento box style” lunch box components to keep foods separated while you cut down on the costly and unhealthy use of zip-lock bags or plastic wrap. Fill each compartment with colorful healthy fruits, veggies, and proteins, along with a little treat you know your child will enjoy.
- Use a cookie cutter to make fun food shapes. Especially when it comes to veggies, this trick should encourage them to eat more.
- Build a no-fail sandwich that won’t get soggy. Be sparing with mayonnaise and mustard, use healthy, sturdier, whole grain bread and layer sandwich components in a way that protects the bread from unnecessary moisture.
- Pack drinks that you know are healthy in a reusable container. This cuts down on the unwanted PBA and sugars that come with pre-packaged juice.
- Place a little message in each lunch box. Nothing mushy – just a quick note of encouragement to help your child steam through the rest of the day!
USFHP believes that the most important part of healthcare is maintaining good health, especially when it comes to your kids. Sending your kid off to school armed with a lunch packed with love is one of the best ways to help keep them healthy.