It is getting to be that time of year when your children head back to school. For some children it might be the first time they are given the freedom to call the shots on what they want to eat for lunch; therefore, educating your children on the items they should be buying is essential. While there have been huge strides in the healthiness of school lunches, your child could still be choosing mac and cheese every day without you knowing. It’s also important to educate kids on the importance of staying hydrated.
Take the time now to help guide your children on making healthy food and beverage choices. Hydrated and healthy children learn better in the classroom. Explain how a healthy and nutritious lunch will give them energy, not only through the school day but also during after school activities.
Tips on Educating Children on Healthy Lunch Options
- Review the school lunch menu together and discuss the different options. Provide substitute suggestions for the unhealthy options.
- Suggest drinking water or milk instead of sugary, calorie-filled juice and soda.
- Serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains at home to familiarize and reinforce healthy options.
- Be a positive role model in what you eat and drink as their parents.
- Encourage a packed lunch, even if it is occasionally.
Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas
- Cracker sandwiches on whole grain crackers
- Cold cut roll-ups
- Homemade pizza on whole grain pita or English muffin
- Vegetables with low fat dip or dressing
- 8 oz bottled water – the perfect size for packed lunches
- Dessert: trail mix, jello, fresh fruit, yogurt
Involving your kids in the process of preparing healthy meals or packing healthy lunches is key in educating your children and will help them make healthy decisions in the lunchroom. In turn your children will stay focused and energized during their entire day.