With school right around the corner, most parents are already dreading the daily chore of packing lunches. The early morning scramble of getting kids ready and out the door, combined with sending them with a healthy lunch they will be sure to eat. This is a fine balance, perhaps an art, of convenience and health as well as mom’s rules and kid’s wills.
So here are a few pointers to get the school year started off right and to get your kids eating super-healthy superfoods for lunch everyday.
- Plan ahead so you’re not tempted to grab the pre-packaged, processed, convenient stuff in a rush. Remember, it may be quick and easy, but those things are loaded with salt, sugar, and empty calories.
- Pack lunches the night before if possible. You’ll have more time to enjoy the few minutes you have in the morning, prepare your children a healthy breakfast, and be confident you have made healthy choices for lunch.
- Prepare items that are easy and fun to eat. Think bright colors, eating with your fingers, and food you can dip.
Here are some suggestions for kid-friendly superfoods that can easily go in a lunchbox.
- Carrots are one of the most kid-friendly vegetables and they are loaded vitamin A and beta carotene. This veggie can be cut into spears, eaten raw, and served with a healthy dip like hummus or guacamole. You’ll have your kids dipping and munching and crunching while fighting disease, building strong bones, and building up their immune system. Carrots have made the Dirty Dozen list of fruits and vegetables high in pesticides. Make sure to buy certified organic to avoid pesticide residue.
- Yogurt is one of the best options to give your kids calcium at lunch. Try to avoid brands high in sugar and consider making it a little more interesting by packing sliced fruit or a cereal topping they can do by themselves. Yogurt that contains live bacteria cultures will help your little ones live a longer life and build a healthy immune system.
- Tomatoes are loaded with powerful antioxidants to help fight against disease. They are a bright and cheery surprise for the lunchbox. Consider trying cherry tomatoes. Easy to eat and can be served with a healthy dip. If you child won’t eat raw tomatoes, try a fresh homemade salsa with whole grain crackers to sneak in those precious nutrients like vitamin E and lycopene.
- Hard-boiled eggs provide a great source of vitamin D. Write a message on the egg for your child and let them have fun cracking and peeling to get to the good stuff.
- Tuck a couple of pieces of fresh fruit for something sweet. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, bananas will give them the potassium they need to maintain normal blood pressure and heart function, and oranges are a sweet citrus to loaded with vitamin C to keep their immune system fighting off the colds.
- A homemade trail mix can be a great way to add some extra superfoods to your child’s lunch. A fun mix of sunflower seeds (vitamin E), nuts (a good source of fatty acids and vitamin E), pumpkin seeds (iron), and raisins (potassium)…plus a few dark chocolate pieces to sweeten the mix is a great snack loaded with health benefits. Click here for a good gluten free recipe.
As that first day of school approaches, don’t get discouraged. Remember to think fresh, fun, colorful, and healthy and you’ll do great! You’re kids will love you for it!