Ensuring our kids eat healthy has rightfully become a national obsession and I’m sure you, like most parents, want healthy lunch ideas to keep your kids motivated, energetic and reaching their true potential reach.
There are some really outstanding reasons to make sure our children eat healthy, and here are two of the most important ones.
1. Studies have shown that children who eat a healthy lunch are more motivated in school and generally do better. This is what we all want for our children and it’s awesome that as parents we have the power to make it happen so easily!
2. Childhood obesity is a growing problem in North America – 5 million adolescents aged 6 to 17 are clinically obese. By introducing your children to healthy eating from an early age, you give them a healthy life!
Of course, there are many other reasons that I won’t list here. I assume by the time you are reading this you are already convinced of the importance of providing healthy food and snacks for your family!
So what tips can you use to help provide healthy meals for your kids?
1. Well, first, you should keep healthy snacks lying around the house. Kids are natural grass eaters and if they don’t have healthy snacks available, they will sneak in unhealthy options. In fact, I would suggest that you do a closet cleaning and try to remove unhealthy snacks so the kids can’t see them and you aren’t tempted to “give in” at a stressed moment.
*Some great healthy snacking tips include:
– Hummus and vegetable sticks
– Salsa and fried beans are mixed together to create a great snack or dip for toasted pita triangles
– Toasted pita triangles and low-fat ranch dressing
– Sweet and crunchy sliced vegetables like carrots and peppers
All of this is quick and easy to prepare and store in the fridge for when you need it.
2. Another important healthy eating idea is to prepare foods that are easy for your kids to eat AND easy for you to prepare. You’re most likely a busy person so don’t overwhelm yourself, there are lots of great, quick and easy ways.
*Easy Tip: Wraps are easy and kids love them. Try adding a few new ingredients this way. My favorites are baked tofu, peanut butter, and snow pea wraps, and turkey breast, mozzarella, cucumber, avocado, and alfalfa wraps. Children will have tried both mixture ingredients before and new ones. Try swapping out peanut butter for cashew or almond butter for a change.
3. Try to prepare as much in advance as possible. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get home from work and tuck into your kids’ meals 100% or cook a ton of food first thing in the morning. So pick a time when you can fully focus on it and prepare a few days in advance. Some things like sauces and dips keep for a while, so find out when’s a good time to get your cooking mojo started! If you can cook, that’s also a good indication of what kind of lunch you should be making. If you really only have time for complicated things on the weekends, choose things in the morning that will last a long time and require very little extra preparation.
* Top Tip: Many meals can be frozen, which is a good tip for after-school meals. Cooking up a big casserole, soup or stew and handing it out in bags for the next week is always a great idea. For school lunches, try preparing your ingredients a few days in advance. Cooked chicken and turkey breast will keep for 3-4 days. You can also make any dips like ranch dressing 3-4 days in advance. Tuna mayo also has a shelf life, but I suggest you keep it tightly sealed as it can make your fridge smelly!
4. Try to involve your child in the healthy eating process whenever possible. If your child hates sweet things (which is unlikely, but sometimes it happens!), don’t force it, look at savory lunches instead, and vice versa. You want to introduce your children to new types of food and food experiences, and it can be an enjoyable process for everyone. Choosing things they genuinely hate will be like hitting a brick wall at every meal.
5. A good tip to help kids get started with new eating experiences is portion control. Mix a small amount of the new food with something you know she likes and slowly introduce a variety of foods this way. Just remember that it’s okay if your child doesn’t like everything, I know I don’t and I’m sure you don’t either! For example, if you’re trying to add avocado and celery to a tuna mayonnaise salad.
Great healthy lunch ideas that your kids will love are easy to come by if you follow these rules: keep it simple, don’t overwhelm yourself, get your child’s input, and introduce things slowly. You’ll be a family of healthy eaters in no time!
Thanks to JR Holt