Healthy Lunch Box Ideas For Back-To-School

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As children get ready to go back to school, it’s time to search the internet and head to the grocery store to develop healthy lunch box ideas. A nutritious lunch is essential for children and can play an important role in learning. Studies have shown that children with poor diets were more likely to perform poorly on tests. So, a healthy lunch can help a child maintain energy and concentration throughout the school day. Coming up with healthy lunch box ideas your kids will enjoy is not always easy. Consider some of the suggestions below.

Keep It Balanced

Healthy lunchboxes for back-to-school should include nutrients such as protein, calcium, and carbohydrates. When planning lunches, consider the major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy. Although you may not always include items from each of the five groups, try to add foods from at least three or four major food groups. It can be easier than you think to combine food groups during lunch. For example, a sandwich on whole-grain bread with turkey and dark green lettuce and tomato provides a serving of vegetables, grains, and protein.

Think Outside the Box

While sandwiches are standard lunch box fare and often a good choice, many other options for healthy lunches are available. For instance, boiled eggs, cheese sticks, and whole-grain crackers are good choices. Make sandwiches with mini whole-grain bagels or tortillas instead of bread. For a hot lunch, place soup or pasta in a thermos. Remember to keep lunches varied and try not to pack the same food every day.

Many individual items, such as granola bars, pudding, and fruit snacks, are convenient to toss in a lunch box. Keep in mind that some of these foods are high in sugar and may contain trans fats. Healthier options include applesauce without added sugar, a piece of fruit, or yogurt. If you opt for pre-packaged lunch items, read food labels and choose things low in saturated fats.

Keep Safety In Mind

When you pack a lunch box for back-to-school, don’t forget about food safety, including proper handling, preparation, and storage. Start with the right kind of lunch box. If possible, use an insulated lunch box to help cold foods stay cold and warm foods stay warm. Be sure to clean it out thoroughly. Spilled food can cause bacteria to develop in the lunch box. Clean with a disinfectant wipe at least once a week or more often if needed.

You can also keep cold foods cold by using ice packs or freezing a bottle of water or juice the night before. Hot food also needs to be kept warm, so try to use insulated thermoses intended for hot foods. You can also make the food a little hotter than normal before placing it in the thermos. Check the thermos insert to determine how long it will keep food warm.

Don’t Forget Healthy Snacks.

Children may need a snack for a recess break, dessert after their lunch, or eat on their way home. Healthy snacks can keep hunger at bay between meals and prevent kids from heading to a vending machine for a soda or candy bar. Some healthy snack ideas include veggie sticks and dip, peanut butter on celery, trail mix, and apple slices. Keep personal taste in mind when packing snacks and remember portion size. Too large of a snack may prevent eating the main meal later.

Make It Fun

Regardless of age, if healthy food looks appealing, you’re more likely to try it. For example, if kids see vegetables, they may not even try them, but they are more likely to give them a shot if you make it fun and more appealing. Consider some of the following suggestions:

  • Help younger kids use a cookie cutter to make vegetables into different shapes.
  • Older kids may want to make healthy dips for veggies, such as salsa and hummus.
  • Instead of an apple or the total price of fruit, make fruit kabobs or a fruit salad.
  • Switch out a whole sandwich for bite-size ones instead.
  • Have kids help decide what types of healthy food they want to try and make a game out of it.

Healthy lunch box ideas for back-to-school help keep energy levels up, facilitating learning. Remember, not all items you try may get a thumbs-up from your kids. Finding healthy foods they will eat and enjoy may take trial and error. Stick to the major food groups, and watch out for high levels of saturated fat. Get creative and remember that healthy eating habits start young.

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