How to Pack a Nutritious Lunch for Your Child
Pack an extra punch of good health in your child's lunch box! Finding ways to add proper nutrition in your children's diet can be fun and creative. There are many great-tasting alternatives that include the necessary nutrients your child needs to perform at his or her best at mid-day.
Here are a few ideas that are fun and delicious:
- Think of the basic foods that are staples in lunches, and bread usually comes to mind. If you are currently using white bread, switch to wheat or a multi-grain for improved nutrition benefits. You may even consider using pita bread to mix up the way your child views that "same old sandwich".
- Pack and/or cut fresh fruits and vegetables, and add them to your child's lunch instead of pre-packaged fruits and vegetables which can be heavy in added sugar or preservatives.
- Add healthier snacks for a natural burst of energy, such as granola, nuts, dried fruits, yogurt and cheese.
- Replace pop and juice with water. If your children are very active, put a sports drink, such as Gatorade, in their lunch.
- Limit the amount of sweets that you send in your child's lunch.
- To help your children become a bit more excited about eating a healthier alternative in their lunch box, make them a part of creating the menu. Give them some choices and allow them to help you pack their lunch. If they feel they helped in the process, they may be more eager to enjoy the options that they have chosen.
- Read the labels on the food that you purchase so that you know the amount of calories, fat, sodium and fiber in the foods that you're feeding your family.
- Many people tire of the same old thing day after day, so find a variety of fresh and healthy items that you and your family enjoy. Have fun creating a nutritious lunch for everyone!
If you're interested in talking with your child's pediatrician or primary care physician about specific nutrition or weight management issues, please call or make an appointment.