When I look around the grocery store at the foods that are marketed to kids and parents as school lunch foods I am occasionally appalled. With high fructose corn syrup, large amounts of sugar, and hydrogenated oils in in most of the foods the average American consumes on a daily basis it can take a little creativity to create healthy lunches for the kids. Aside from the obvious benefits of healthy lunches, a healthy lunch will improve the overall mood of your child and help with their ability to concentrate and learn in school.
Here are a few healthy lunch ideas your kids may just love!
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are usually a hit!
- Healthy tip: When looking for peanut butter choose a “Natural” kind. Most of the big brands now have natural varieties that are free of hydrogenated oils. If your kids are open to it consider going with a healthy brand that contains little to no added sugar.
Meat and cheese sandwiches are yummy too!
- Healthy tip: For a healthier lunch meat try Hormel® Natural Choice® deli meats. These meats are free of preservatives including nitrates and nitrites. They are also MSG free. These are my favorite grocery store deli meats!
- Also, try to avoid heavily processed cheeses (think American cheese) and opt for real cheese. If your kids won’t eat sandwiches (mine won’t) try sending lunch meat roll-ups with slices of cheese.
Always send a serving of fruit
- Tip: There is a wide variety of delicious, easy to pack fruits that your kids will love just as much as they love dessert! Try strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries for something sweet. If your kids are anything like mine they will also love apples, pears, bananas, and grapes.
Don’t forget the veggies!
- Healthy tip: Delicious dips are a good way to get veggie shy kids eating. Most kids seem to love dipping in ranch dressing, or you could try an even healthier option like Peloponnese® Hummus Spread. Yum!
- My kids’ favorite veggies? Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and broccoli!
- It can be considerably more difficult to monitor your child’s liquid intake when they are at school all day. If your child brings a lunch from home make sure you send a healthy drink.
- 100% Juice will provide important vitamins and nutrients for your child.
- If you’re like my family and you opt for water over juice, send your child to school with a reusable bottle with water. This way you can be sneaky and check to see if your child is drinking enough. If they aren’t drinking enough simply challenge them to see if they can drink all the water before they get home from school.