I was asked to answer the following questions about healthy lunches for kids for Mommy Perks Blog. You can read the full article here.
There are several parents who disagree with the choices that typical school cafeterias offer and make an effort to send their child to school with a healthy packed school lunch. This really depends on the demographic of the children, working parents may opt to have their children buy lunch, or those children who are on free or reduced lunch typically do not bring a lunch from home.
2. With school lunches being so unhealthy, should more parents consider home lunches?
Yes, the bottom line is if a child is faced with the choice of salad or pizza, they are going to choose pizza. Sending them to school with a lunch packed with healthy foods they like is a guarantee that they are getting a high quality lunch that will promote optimal performance in the classroom. A lunch packed with processed sugar, sodium and fat will hinder their ability to think clearly, which could have a negative impact on their grades and extracurricular activity performance.
3. What are some good options for sack lunches?
Keep it simple, think protein, high fiber carbs, fruit, vegetable and some healthy fats. Children like finger foods, packing these foods in a bento box is appealing to a child’s eyes resulting in less waste. A turkey sandwich on a high fiber bread, a clementine or other piece of fruit, carrots or other chopped veggies, hummus or guacamole as the fat with a homemade trail mix is a great lunch. This lunch meets all of the necessary criteria listed above to optimize performance both physically and mentally.
4. What if you have a picky eater?
Get the child involved, don’t assume they will like something or eat something just because you packed it. Get their input in what they will like to eat every day.
5. If parents work in the morning, can they prepare a lunch the evening before, to save time?
Of course, in fact this is the best option. Packing the night before reduces stress in the morning and the chance of running out of time in the morning.
6. What options are good for parents who make the lunches the night before?
The same options listed above, a fruit, vegetable, sandwich, and healthy fat in the form of nuts, nut butter, hummus, cheese or guacamole. All of these items will keep over night.
Dr. Kantor’s greatly anticipated new children’s book, The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice, is now available. Be sure to order this highly reviewed book, filled with healthy living tips for the whole family. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.