Are you having a difficult time considering what to pack for your kid's school lunches? You look at the lunch menu and know there has to be healthier options for lunch. There are simple lunch meals that can be created the night before, eliminating the morning rush to pack something or to just hand over money for the school lunch. Discuss with your kids what types of food they would like to eat for lunch and then talk with them about the importance of a well balance meal at lunch time. You want to aim for a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, while keeping the saturated fats, sugar, and salt to a minimum.
Proteins can come in more sources than just processed lunch meat. Peanut butter and jelly can be made a million different ways, using different kinds of nut butters and different all fruit jams. PB&J does not always have to be placed on white bread, try it on rice cakes, spelt bread, a whole wheat English muffin or if you dare in a tortilla. Other sandwich ideas include tomato and cheese, egg salad, or chicken breast and cheese. Protein does not need to be contained in a sandwich, try protein by itself as yogurt, tofu cubes, bean and cheese mini burritos, or nuts.
Complex carbohydrates are just as important as protein, since kids are rapidly growing this is not a time to put them on a low carbohydrate diet. Whole grains are better than white flours, since the white flour has been processed more than the whole grains. Fruits and veggies are also complex carbohydrates. For younger kids try dressing up fruits and veggies by cutting them in different shapes. Exploring the produce stand with your children and getting them involved with buying the fruits and veggies they want to eat. Add fresh hummus to their lunch so they can dip their veggies into something. Consider the dirty dozen when buying your fruits and veggies.
Eating healthy does not mean you have to give up desserts, ok so maybe some desserts but there are options for healthy desserts. Organic graham crackers, fruit strips, granola bars (just watch the sugar content), or a piece of dark chocolate are some options. Fresh fruit with yogurt on top, applesauce with cinnamon, and the raw food apple pie are some more great options.
Just as important as putting good healthy food into your kids' lunch, it is important to pack healthy drinks. Water is always the best option, no sugar there, however it can be difficult to get kids to drink it. Try adding lemons or limes, or even a small amount of 100% fruit juice. These options will give water a flavor which makes it easier to drink larger quantities. Another option is soy milk, cow's milk or rice milk. Organic is always best because then you hopefully will be eliminating the growth hormones, antibiotics and whatever else might find its way into cow milk.
Have your kids help you pack their lunch so they have a say as to what goes in. That way there is a better chance they will eat all of their lunch and not trade it away or not finish it.