A healthy lifestyle is important at every stage of life, but especially for growing school-aged children. In addition to getting enough sleep and staying active, fueling their body with nutritious food is vital to supporting a child’s mental health and development.
Parents, here are our tips for packing a school lunch that not only is delicious but full of healthy choices that your kiddo is sure to love.
Get Colorful – An easy way to make lunch healthy is to add color! Bright vegetables like carrots, snap peas and bell peppers are yummy snacks and the perfect substitute for chips or crackers. Fruits like apples, bananas, pears, and peaches not only add color, but also fiber and natural sugars. Check out the USDA’s recommendations for daily fruit and veggie intake to make sure your child gets all the color they need to stay strong and healthy.
Pack In The Protein – A hearty serving of protein can promote bone strength, increase muscle mass, boost metabolism and much more! Kid-friendly protein options include poultry, nut butter, seafood, and eggs. Switching to whole grain is another easy way to incorporate protein into your child’s favorite pasta and sandwiches. Protein-packed snacks like string cheese, peanut butter crackers, turkey slices, and hummus not only are tasty but filling. The USDA shares more helpful guidelines for protein intake at all ages.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – There’s nothing better than refreshing H2O. But if your child is a little picky and prefers a flavored drink, infuse the water with fresh fruits like lemons, oranges, and strawberries to add sweet flavors they’ll love. It’s important to avoid sugary juice boxes and sports drinks, opting instead for 100% fruit juice or low-fat milk.
As a parent, you won’t always have full control over what your kids are eating and drinking, but by following these guidelines and encouraging healthy choices, you can start them down the path to a great lifestyle!