Healthy Lunch Ideas For Growing Kids

It’s September…back to school, back to routine, and back to preparing lunches

Back to School

Image(s) licensed by Ingram Publishing

 

It’s September…back to school, back to routine, and back to preparing lunches.  For many parents that I work with, the thought of creating quick and easy lunches that your child will actually eat can be a significant stressor.  Add on top of that the desire to make them healthy, and you have a nightmare waiting to happen.

In a world where many are already strapped for time, the tendency to turn to grab-and-go options like: Lunchables, Go-gurts, and fruit snacks is all too common.  High in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat, it is important to recognize that this sacrifice for convenience may also mean a sacrifice for good health.  I always recommend that parents try moving away from packaged foods towards a balanced, whole-food diet that can still be convenient and taste great!

It is important to consider how you are fueling your kids bodies and brains for the classroom.  Some healthy snack/lunch options to consider:

o    Apple slices with nut butter (if your child’s school is peanut-free, you can try almond butter or sunflower seed butter)
o    Mixed berries or homemade fruit salad
o    Veggies with hummus
o    Hard-boiled/deviled eggs
o    Trail mix – allow kids to make their own by choosing the ingredients at your local bulk food store
o    Build-your-own nachos – send bean/corn chips, salsa, guacamole, & cheese
o    Lettuce wraps or meat roll-ups – wrap up your favourite fillings in these alternatives to bread

I also emphasize the importance of involving your children in the process of meal planning. If you subscribe to the digital version of Today’s Parent this interactive page will make meal planning easier than ever!  ‘Go Bento’  https://www.nextissue.ca/author/tammysutherland/ allows your child to create their own bento box (Japanese translation for “convenient”) by dividing lunches into small portion sizes with healthy nutritious foods.  They have the option of choosing different healthy foods from 5 different categories:

o     Grains
o     Fruits
o     Vegetables
o     Protein
o     Snacks

Your children can have fun while also developing healthy food habits that will stick with them, as they grow older.

Resources:

NomNomPaleo. A week of Paleo School Lunches.  Accessed on August 30, 2014 at http://nomnompaleo.com/post/30267255011/a-week-of-paleo-school-lunches-part-1-of-5.
Today’s Parent. How to Ace Back to School. Accessed on August 30, 2014 at https://www.nextissue.ca/author/tammysutherland/

Author: Dr. Kristi Prince, ND

Dr. Kristi Prince, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor in Cobourg with a focus on Family Medicine and Women's Health.  She is also a soon-to-be registered lactation consultant.

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