Nutritious and Simple Foods to Pack in Your Child's Lunch Box
Whether your child is just starting school or daycare for the first time, or if they’re in middle or high school, they need nutritious foods throughout the day to keep them energized and alert. As a parent you certainly want to ensure that your child has a lunch that can give them the required nutrients.
Here are some healthy and tasty lunch ideas that can keep your child going:
Add fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrition and good fiber that can make your child more active. They should have at least one serving of each of these at lunch. For example, a single lunch could have half a cup of carrots with hummus alongside half a cup of sliced fruit.
Most kids have a discerning palette so make their lunch appetizing by adding color to it. For example, give them a mix of grapes, raspberries, carrots and bananas to make their food look more colorful and yummier.
Dairy is a vital source of calcium and is very important for a growing child so it should be included in the lunch as well. Many parents include milk or cheese in their child’s lunchbox if their lunchbox is insulated. If not, supplying your child with a dollar or two should be enough for them to get a carton of milk at school. Avoid flavored milk that is high in sugar and puddings and other flavored custards.
Fruit yogurt is very appealing to children but again, make sure to place it in an insulated lunch box to prevent it from going bad. Fruit yogurt allows your child to receive the health benefits of both dairy and fruit at the same time.
Supplying your child with whole grains is also very important for your child’s health. Whole grains supply your child with more energy and nutrients to last throughout the day. Whole grains can be integrated into your child’s lunch routine by using whole grain bread in a sandwich or in a whole grain granola bar. As far as granola goes, avoid granola or cereal bars that are high in sugar or are coated in chocolate or yogurt.
Protein can keep your child full longer and encourage muscle growth. Even if your child does not like meat, you can still add alternatives in their lunch box that are full of protein. Add nuts or give them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if they are not allergic. Alternatives can include hazelnut, almond and cashew butter.
Some children really enjoy hardboiled eggs in their lunches, while others simply prefer a ham or turkey sandwich. Either one is a great source of protein for your growing child.
Your child’s lunch box should include a balanced meal with all major food groups included. Learn more about recommended daily nutrition at www.choosemyplate.gov. Call Glen Allen Pediatrics by dialing 804-282-4210 to schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s nutritional needs and health.