(Here is a guest post about packing healthy school lunches. I would add to consider using no waste lunch gear– with no chemicals that can leech. Use stainless steel, glass, or in the very least, BPA free plastics.)
When you think about grade school, what are the first things to come to mind? Whether the first thing you think of is homework or recess, I can almost guarantee that lunch was on the list. Lunchtime is a major aspect of our kid’s educations. Not only is this the school activity that facilitates lunchroom bartering and lifelong friendships, it is also one of the most important elements of your child’s health and wellbeing. Whether your kid has a Disney lunchbox or the more traditional brown bag, it all boils down to what you put in it. Our kids’ diets are something that just can’t be overlooked. With more of a spotlight being put on school lunches through First Lady Michelle Obama’s School Lunch Program and the United States Department of Agriculture’s HealthierUS School Challenge, parents, educators, and policy makers are beginning to think about our youngsters’ diets a little more. As an endlessly bust parent, consider these tips for packing your child a healthy and easy lunch each day.
Saving Time and Money
The secret to saving time is all about planning ahead. Think about the lunches you are going to pack before you get to that time that everyone is trying to rush out the door.
1. Consider using leftovers. If you cooked something the night before that is easily packable, put it in lunch sized portions for the next day.
2. Plan your grocery list out carefully. Pick foods that can easily go into a lunchbox, like apples, string cheese, and yogurt. Separate things like carrots and other veggies into single serving portions when you get home from the store. This will save you time preparing in the morning.
3. Buy bulk items that you know can last. There’s no use buying things that you know will spoil too quickly for you to use them all.
While at one time school lunches might have consisted of a cheese sandwich, chips, and a Twinkie, today things have changed. Responsible parents and school districts ensure that their kids are eating healthy, well-rounded meals.
1. Use the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate as a guide to creating colorful and balanced lunches. Kids should eat one item from every food group in their lunches.
2. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a must. Rather than fatty potato chips, serve some carrots with hummus or a banana. Consider salads for lunch, but be sure to use a small amount of dressing and to include some source of protein.
3. Lean meats like turkey and chicken are a better choice than high-fat ones like bologna. Also, when making sandwiches think about the kind of bread you use.
4. Sodas and sugary juices or sports drinks can be one of the unhealthiest elements of a meal. Pack water or 100% juice for your child. Water is the best way to curb snacking and keep you hydrated. Drinking sugary drinks is bad for your kids’ health and only causes them to crash in the middle of their school day.
Jemima Lopez is a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and online schools. She welcomes your comments at her email: lopezjemima562 @ gmail.com.