The school season is upon us in Frederick County and it’s time to start thinking about those school lunches again. We’ve gathered some helpful tips to make packing lunches quick, easy, and delicious!
Be Prepared: Mornings can be a hectic time to think about packing a healthy and balanced lunch; preparing and packing lunches the night before is easy, and all you’ll have to do is grab it and go!
Maintain Balance: In order to provide your child with a healthy lunch, think about providing proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and vegetables. Remember the more colorful the better!
- Yogurt or cheese sticks are great sources of protein. Try not to drive yourself crazy finding the yogurt with the highest amount of protein or lowest amount of sugar, all yogurts naturally have sugar and protein in them, so finding a yogurt that your child will eat is your best bet.
- Soy and Lactaid milk are also great sources of protein. Almond milk is low calories but is also much lower in protein, so if your child and family drink almond milk make sure that you are providing protein through other avenues.
- Whole grains and whole wheat bread products provide more fiber to help aid in your child’s digestive health. If your child isn’t big on whole wheat or whole grain breads, don’t forget that fruits are also a great source of carbohydrates! Fresh fruit or a fruit cup in its own juice is a terrific addition to the lunch box!
Keep It Simple: Go back to the basics…sandwiches. Two slices of whole grain or whole wheat bread provides a great source of fiber and carbohydrates. Add two slices of low sodium lunch meat, one slice of part-skim cheese, a little bit of mustard, all topped with fresh lettuce and tomato creates a very balanced meal. Don’t forget about the classic peanut butter and natural jelly on whole wheat or whole grain bread (be aware of any food allergen regulations at your child’s school). This option provides a great balance of protein and carbohydrates for your kiddo.
The Picky Eater: If you have a picky eater, who can’t sit still, think of more creative options!
- Celery, peanut butter, and raisins
- Carrot and celery sticks with ranch dip
- Pretzel sticks and peanut butter
- Cheese and crackers
- Pretzel and vegetable sticks with hummus
- Apple slices and peanut butter
- Granola and yogurt
Small snacks in the lunch box may be more appealing to your child then just one large sandwich and an apple.
Hydration: Drinks are also a very important part of school lunch, especially since lunch time and recess usually coincide. Water is always a great choice to hydrate your child. If your child is a very picky eater and needs to gain weight, 2% milk or low-fat soy, and juices with calories are great ways to make sure your child is receiving enough calories. If your child is a great eater and has no weight issues, low calorie drinks and water are your best options. Drinks with calories are a very easy way to exceed the needed calories in a day.
We hope these tips help you and your family start the school year off happy and healthy. As always, we’d love to hear about your favorite lunch ideas; please share in the comments!