Back to School: Healthy Lunch for Kids

Children need to refuel mid-day with a balanced meal, so it’s important to pack a satisfying lunch for them to take to school. Kids are more likely to enjoy and stick to healthy habits if they are involved in the process. Consider what they like and dislike to pack the best lunch possible. Try out some of these lunch ideas for a more appealing lunch:

  • Be sure to include fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy for a well-balanced lunch.
  • Don’t pack the same thing every day. Make sure to switch it up to prevent food boredom.
  • Easy lunch ideas:
    • Lettuce wrap tacos with a side of fruit
    • Stuffed pita pockets with turkey, cheese and vegetables
    • Breakfast for lunch – whole wheat pancakes, fruit and a side of vegetables
    • Whole wheat pasta salad with vegetables and chicken and a side of fruit
    • Dipping lunch – where child can dip pita and vegetables into hummus and fruit into yogurt

After a long day at school, kids tend to come home hungry. While the concern may be that a snack will ruin your child’s appetite for dinner, portion control and time management will ensure that they’re satisfied throughout the day. Think of snacks as an opportunity to get more nutritious foods into their daily diet. below are some a few tips for healthy after-school snacks: 

  • Use portion control to prevent mindless snacking or overeating before dinner.
  • Keep in mind that children eat much smaller portion sizes than we do. Many experts use a guideline of 1 tablespoon of food for each year of a child’s age (until about 10 years of age) to determine the appropriate portion size.
  • Fast snacks to try:
    • Celery sticks or a banana with peanut butter and chocolate chips or raisins
    • Whole wheat English muffin topped with pizza sauce and shredded cheese
    • Frozen yogurt or applesauce
    • Turkey and cheese roll-ups
    • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and strawberries or banana pieces
    • Inside out sandwich – turkey and cheese wrapped around a pretzel rod with a little bit of mustard

 

Learn more about healthy lunch options for your kids from 9 and 10 News host Michelle Dunaway below.

Northern Michigan’s News Leader

What healthy lunches do your kids enjoy? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Photo Credit: Lucy Ciaramitaro, A Healthier Michigan

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in:

Making Sure Back-to-School Lunches Keep Their Cool

13 Creative Snacks Your Kids Will Love!

Easy and Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids

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