How To Make School Lunches Both Nutritional and Appealing To Kids
- Whole grains (popcorn, wraps, bread, rolls, crackers, pitas, cereal, pasta, quinoa, brown rice)
- Lean- or low-fat protein (low-fat milk, cheese, nuts, cottage cheese, yogurt, hummus, turkey, chicken, roast beef, ham, nut butters, eggs, edamame, beans, tuna fish and salmon)
- Fruits and veggies (100% fruit juice box, any fresh fruits or veggies, dried fruit, fruit cups in juice, natural applesauce cups)
3. Make it colorful. Adding colorful fruits and vegetables can make a lunch look more appetizing. Spice up vegetables with a little bit of guacamole, hummus, salsa, or low-fat ranch dressing on the side to add flavor and fun.
4. Don’t forget a drink: Hydration is particularly important for children because they have higher water requirements than adults. Besides water, more fun options include smoothies and low-fat milk. Skip sugary juices and sodas.
5. Pick the right sweet treat: It’s okay to add something small to their lunches because it gives them something to look forward to, but aim for less than eight to 10 grams of sugar per serving. Examples include chocolates that are at least 70 percent pure cocoa chocolate and natural fruit smoothies with plain Greek yogurt and almond milk.
Here are some nutritious and delicious lunch ideas:
- Grilled cheese a’la’ waffle – Use a waffle iron to create a whimsical version of the standard sandwich that can be enjoyed at room temperature. Serve with grapes, carrot sticks and 100% fruit juice.
- Veggie quesadilla – Use whatever veggies you have on hand layered between a whole grain tortilla with cheese and cook quickly to melt the cheese. Serve with apple slices and lowfat milk.
- Hard boiled egg-on-a-stick – Pair with popcorn, fruit slices to dip in a container of Greek yogurt along with a few cherry tomatoes and bottle of water.
- Roll it up! – Roll up string cheese, a slice of lean ham, red bell pepper slices and baby spinach in a whole grain wrap (my kids love this type of lunch) Serve with 100% fruit juice and a few strawberries.
What about after school snacks?