Back to school is here, leaving many parents wondering about healthy lunches that the kids will actually eat. It can definitely be a challenge to come up with new ideas for lunchtime, especially when you try to rule out a lot of overly processed ingredients.
The first thing that most parents think of when it comes time to make school lunches is a sandwich. And, while sandwiches are a popular lunch item, they often aren’t all that healthy. Most sandwich meats tend to be very high in sodium and the bread is a carbohydrate that often doesn’t have all that much nutrition.
Thankfully, there are a few other options you can include in your child’s lunch box. One of the easiest ways to pack a healthy lunch for your child is to use a Bento box. Bento boxes are Japanese boxes divided into many different compartments. This allows you to add different food items to each square. Consider grapes, cheese cubes, a hard-boiled egg, hummus, carrot sticks, and some fresh berries or sliced apples.
If your child enjoys traditional sandwiches but you want to cut down on the carbohydrates in their lunch, you can send them with meat and cheese rolls. Just look for low sodium options when you buy deli meat. Swiss cheese tends to be lower in sodium than other types of cheese, plus, you can serve it on a skewer like a kebab. Just alternate a cherry tomato, a cube of cheese, and a small roll of meat cut into cubes. This lets your child enjoy the taste of a sandwich without the added carbs.
Of course, what would a school lunch be without a few snacks? I know they’re the highlight of my lunch. Any type of fresh fruit is a good option. It will probably be easier to eat if you cut it into slices or cubes. And, remember that kids love to dip. You can include celery sticks, pepper slices, and carrot sticks to dip into hummus. Or, pack apple slices and chunks of banana to dip into peanut butter or almond butter if your school allows it. If nut products are not allowed, you can send in a small tub of yogurt for them to dip in. Just be sure to watch the sugar content.
Getting the kids to eat a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be a struggle. If you include a few of these simple ideas, the kids will actually eat the lunch you pack them. And, you’ll feel good about sending them with a healthy choice.