Many who struggle with weight management as adults adopted their eating behaviors when they were children. Parental influence on diet, feeding practices, and attitudes toward food can stick with us for decades. We now have access to more food options than earlier generations and a lot of the meals of today have never tasted better. However, they might not be as healthy as they should be.
Since we are responsible for what is placed on our children’s plate through their growing years, our first step should be to provide them with the kind of lunch their growing bodies need.
A practical way to teach good eating habits is to pack lunches for your kids. School lunches may have calories, fat, and sodium in unhealthy quantities.
Here are some suggestions:
Sandwiches and salads
When you think about a lunchbox, the image that comes to you may be of a sandwich. While PB&J may be a staple many of us grew up with–often on white bread–we can probably do better. You can use low salt roast beef or ham to whip up some delicious, healthy sandwiches. I often look for those versions that do not contain nitrites. Homemade chicken salad is an excellent option to rotate into the mix as well.
Don’t forget to add healthy veggies like sprouts, lettuce, and tomatoes to your kid’s sandwiches. If at all possible, use whole-grain bread and avoid white bread, which is full of refined carbs.
Fruits and Vegetables
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, there is no healthier food than fruits and veggies. Pack carrot or celery sticks, broccoli, and other fresh veggies with some homemade dip. Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, and berries are good choices as well for a school lunch.
Your child will enjoy their lunch more if you put in a treat. Don’t let unhealthy chips or cookies be your choice. Go for healthy snack options like popcorn, nuts, dried fruits, or trail mix.
You can’t have a good lunch without a healthy drink. Store-bought juices and fizzy drinks are not the healthiest. Instead, invest in a thermos and fill it up with water, milk, or homemade lemonade (don’t go overboard on the sugar, though).
A healthy lunch for your kiddo can be tasty and healthy. You can improve the quality of the food your child eats just by starting with a nutrition-packed lunch.