Healthy Lunches For Littles: How To Amp Up Your Child’s Back-To-School Nutrition 

When packing your kid’s lunch, it can feel like you’re stuck in a sea of fruit snacks, Dunkaroos, and other options that don’t exactly give your child the energy they need to thrive during their afternoon in the classroom. Here, we’ll take a look at some easy tips that you can use to create lunches that give your little ones the brainpower they need to finish the school day strong.

Make fruit and veggies simple.

You know that fruits and veggies are key to creating a healthy lunch for your kiddo, but it can be frustrating when you see the same apple or banana come back in their lunch box uneaten at the end of each day. Making fruits and veggies as easy to eat as possible can make it more likely that your kid will enjoy an extra boost of nutrition. Instead of including a whole apple, slice one up, toss it with lemon juice to prevent browning and top it with a dusting of cinnamon for an extra boost of flavor. Include baby carrots with a side of hummus for dipping or cucumber rounds with a small container of salad dressing.

If you notice that the same produce items are coming back uneaten day after day, ask your child for their input on why they’re struggling to get their fruits and veggies in. Take what they say into consideration and work to create a more fun, easy-to-eat produce experience for your child.

Let your child have a say.

When kids get a chance to participate in the meal planning process, they’re more likely to want to eat the food that’s in their lunch. Take your little one grocery shopping with you and spend plenty of time in the produce aisle, letting them choose what they’d like to include for lunch over the following week. If your child loves a particular dinner that you make that’s a good fit for leftovers, including them in the preparation can make them excited to see it included in their lunch the following day.

Stick to water–jazz it up if necessary.

It can be tempting to toss a juice box or a chocolate milk into your child’s lunch, but if you’re keeping an eye on the sugar and want them to stay wide awake throughout the afternoon, hydrating with water might be a better idea. If you struggle to get your kiddo to drink plain water, adding a few slices of fruit–like pineapple or strawberries–can give the water some flavor that makes it more palatable for kiddos.

Showing your kids the importance of drinking water at home can also make them more likely to down a glass or two with lunch at school. When you tell your child why drinking water is so important–and they see that you practice what you preach–you may be surprised at how much they’re able to put away while they’re at school.

Become a label sleuth.

Sneaky sugars are everywhere when it comes to snacks and foods that are marketed toward kids, and it’s important that you take a look at the label on any packaged products you want to slip into your kids’ lunch box (no matter what health claims are used to market the product). Keep an eye on sugars (especially added sugars), and read ingredient lists. If sugar (or anything synonymous with sugar, like high fructose corn syrup) is on the label, you’ll likely want to steer clear unless you’re offering a special treat.

Moms and dads, if you’re thinking about ways to make your child’s lunch healthier, you’re already on the right track. Pay attention to your child’s preferences, involve them in the process, and you’ll be well on your way to getting them the nutrition they need to get through the school day.

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