The heat of summer is (finally) starting to fade, giving way to cooler weather and… back to school time!
While this is an exciting time for parents, it can also be a time that brings about certain worries for both parents and kids. One of those worries may center around food. Packing lunches and snacks for our little ones can be quite a challenge, and trying to provide healthier options can make that even more of an obstacle. “What is considered healthy?” “How do I know they will eat it?” “What if they don’t like what I pack?” All of these questions and more can come up when choosing healthy lunches and snacks for school.
So, how do we calm some of these worries?
Try some of these tips from the Cleveland Clinic:
- Be the change you want to see. Do you want your kids to start eating healthier? Well, reflect this behavior! Children often imitate the behaviors that they see their parents practicing. If you start to make healthier choices, they will too. Start easy by offering one kid-friendly fruit or veggie a day at lunch or snack time such as apple slices or baby carrots to start building healthier eating habits with your little ones.
- When school lunch is the only option… Don’t have the time or opportunity to pack your child’s lunches and snacks for school? School lunch is sometimes the best (and only) option for some families; however, there are still ways to encourage making healthy choices. School districts will often post the upcoming week’s school breakfast and lunch schedule on their websites, and some will even send it home with children. Sit down your kids and discuss what options are healthier than others and encourage them to make healthy choices based on what foods are offered. Doing this not only gives your kid guidance on how to make those better choices, but also allows you to get familiar with the food offerings at your child’s school.
- Pack well-rounded, healthy lunches and snacks. Try to pack a well-rounded lunch and snacks for your child to enjoy. Some options include:
- Proteins: sliced chicken breast, yogurts, and cheese sticks or cheese cubes
- Whole grains: whole wheat crackers, mini bagels, and granola bars
- Fruits: grapes, apple slices, bananas, oranges, and assorted berries
- Veggies: baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and celery sticks
- Snacks: tortilla chips and salsa, pretzels, and graham crackers
- Drinks: low fat milk, water, or 100% fruit juices
What’s your favorite way to make sure your kids get healthy choices during lunches and snacks for the school year?