Going back to school can be a source of excitement and anxiety for both parents and children. Don’t let worrying about school lunches be a source of stress. Follow these tips for healthy lunches that are quick and easy to make, pack, and eat. Be sure to check with your school to see if any foods are banned because of allergens, such as peanuts.
Sandwiches are easy but may become boring if eaten too often. Change it up by trying new breads such as pitas, bagels, or croissants. You can also replace the bread with tortillas, rice cakes, or crackers.
Leftovers make a great lunch option. Fill a thermos with reheated soup, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, rice and beans, or sautéed chickpeas. Some leftovers may also be packed and eaten without reheating, such as pizza or chicken.
Finger foods are easy to pack and eat, and are a great way to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your child’s lunch. Keep precut fruits and veggies on hand, such as baby carrots, green peppers, cucumbers, apple slices, and grapes. If your child likes a dip for their veggies, try hummus for a healthy alternative.
Healthier snacks like nuts, pretzels, or baked crackers are a great alternative to chips and prepackaged items like granola bars, yogurt, cheese sticks, and fruit leather are quick and easy additions to any lunch.
Healthy drinks like water, 100% juice, and low-fat milk should be chosen and sugary drinks should be avoided. To help keep foods cold, juice boxes and water bottles can be frozen before packed in a lunch and the liquid should be thawed and ready to drink by lunchtime.
If you find your child becoming bored with their regular lunch items, try packing non-standard items like sushi, chicken salad, or other items your child enjoys. To gain interest in new foods, ask your child to help look for recipes or help prepare the new foods.
Looking for additional ways to improve your diet, such as eating healthier at work, eating healthy on a budget, and cooking for better health. Visit our Tips for Eating Healthier to learn how to save time and money, while eating healthier.
Getting back to your routine should also include scheduling your annual preventive care. Visit our Physician Affidavit article for more information on how you can get a $50 gift certificate when you get your annual physical. All full-time employees and their spouses are eligible!
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