31 Aug Healthy, Fun, Trendy: Back to School Lunch Hacks (From an LDN!)
The dog days of summer mark the kids heading back to school! For parents this can be a mixed bag of emotions, we’re excited to get them out of the house yet feeling sad about them being another grad older at the same time. And speaking of bags, with everything that goes into back to school we are often left with little to no time to think about prepping healthy school lunches! PediaTrust’s resident dietitian, Marisa Persky, MPH, RD, LDN gave us some awesome ideas and school lunch hacks for your kid’s lunch box!
Top school lunch hacks:
Purchase a Bento Box lunch box for your school lunches. These help all sorts of issues like portion control at meal time and for snacks on the go. Since these containers have 3 separate areas, they help to promote more color and variety too. You can even purchase these trendy lunch boxes from Amazon (let’s face it, what cant’ you get on Amazon?) and have them shipped right to your door!
A question Marisa often gets from parents is how to include more fruits and veggies in their child’s diet. It’s a constant struggle isn’t it? She advises to increases fruits and veggies in your kids’ snacks and lunches by simply asking them to list three colors, and then make it your goal to include those three colors in your child’s lunch box for the next day. (Try avoiding pink and purple unless mixing berries together is an option!) If you have your kids help with lunch making after dinner for the next days’ lunch, this will help to allow more time in the morning as well as to increase the chances your kids will actually eat their lunch! Well, at least most of the time.
For after school snacks, try to shoot for at least 2 food groups to help with satiety and increased variety. For example, yogurt with a 1/2 cup of cereal (protein + grain), an apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter, or even make a smoothie!
For lunch options, try to change out the grain source 2-3x per week. A mix of whole grain tortillas, whole-grain bread, whole-grain crackers, etc. make lunch more fun and exciting! Also try and do the same with protein and fruits. For example: turkey, chicken, egg, tuna, beans, hummus, etc. are all healthy ways to make lunch less blah for the kids. Top it off by choosing low fat/fat free dairy products to accompany the grain, fruit, and protein such as a mozzarella cheese stick, fat free yogurt, or 1% cottage cheese.
With these easy and healthy school lunch hacks, your kids are on their way to having the most envied lunch box in the lunch room! What tricks do you use to make lunch more fun? Share with us in the comments!
Interested in chatting with Marisa about your child’s eating habits? You can find out more info here or talk to your pediatrician.