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back-to-school lunch box tips

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Back-to-school lunchbox tips

  • A healthy school lunch should include nutrient-rich foods from several food groups to supply needed protein, fat and carbs.
  • A healthy lunch should provide enough nutrients to sustain your child’s energy and concentration for several hours.

Children who eat nourishing foods do better in school, but coming up with healthy back-to-school lunch ideas that your kids will actually eat can be a challenge. A healthy school lunch should include nutrient-rich foods from several food groups to supply the protein, fat and carbohydrates needed to sustain your child's energy and concentration for several hours.

Here are some tips for healthy, balanced and easy back-to-school lunches to save you time and stress:

Have your kids be a part of the process 

  • During each shopping trip, encourage your child to pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try. Kids are more likely to try a new food if they choose it.
  • Have your kids help pack their lunch. This is a chance to try a bit of their meal so you can see how they like it and to get them excited about lunch the next day.

Plan and prep lunch ahead of time

  • Prep what you can for packing your kid’s lunch in the morning. This might involve packing dinner leftovers, snacks and fruit in portion-size containers.
  • Plan your lunches for the week on Sundays. You may get so good at it that you'll be able to plan, shop for and prep lunches for two weeks at a time.

Be aware of portion sizes

Be mindful of the amount of food you are packing. You want large enough portions, so your kids can stay focused until they get home, but not so much that they can’t eat it all.

Prepare healthy snacks

Prepare and keep portioned healthy snacks on hand. This makes it easier for your child to choose more healthy options, plus it's a great timesaver for busy parents.

Keep it simple and warm

  • Time for lunch is often limited, plus kids use this time to socialize. So, keep things simple and easy to eat.
  • Most school cafeterias do not have microwaves, so it’s important pack food that can be eaten at room temperature. Or heat up food before school and pack in insulated containers to keep food warm. Be sure food is 212 F when packed to prevent bacteria build-up.

Variety is key to planning delicious, balanced and healthy lunches. Download this printable Healthy Lunch Builder for kids and keep it on your fridge all year long to keep the focus on making healthy choices! Explore more brown bag lunch ideas.

 

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