As much as parents would prefer their young children to eat healthy and balanced food, not all of their meals are eaten at home. Choices of lunch for some young children may be limited to what is available in the cafeteria. Making lunch boxes may seem time consuming, but it can be beneficial for your child’s health in the long run.
Parents need not to prepare something very fancy in order for the child to eat his meal. Often it helps to let the kid be involved in choosing which food items he prefers. You can then work your way on preparing lunches with his preferences. Besides, packed lunches must never be uninteresting in order for your kid to like his meals.
It is recommended that a kid’s lunch must include foods from at least 3 food groups. A simple example is a sandwich, fruit and milk. Having said that parents need to explore other food items on the same food group, so that a child will not tire with the usual fare. Try to pack whole grain crackers, natural yogurt, or even leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. You can always spice up the regular peanut butter sandwiches with bananas or apples. Also make it a point to choose the whole-grain variety when choosing food items like bagels, breads, crackers or pasta.
It is also important for parents to pay attention to the proper food portions in a packed meal. If you pack too much food for your kid, it is also like conditioning him to eat more than what he may need to consume. Schools also allow a midmorning snack for school-aged children. Try to pack healthier options like whole-grain breads or crackers, fruits, sandwiches with healthy fillings, bagels or tortilla.
Young children have diverse preferences, and it can be hard to please their palate. If your kid loves sandwiches, try to make a couple of sandwich fillings in advance before the week starts. This can ensure that although your child doesn’t mind eating sandwiches, he could have a different variety every single day. Try to include veggies like shredded carrots or chopped celery to common favorites like egg and tuna sandwiches. Salads are also nutritious lunch options. It is also less difficult to have food items from the three food groups in just one meal preparation. An example is by adding some fruits like grapes to a chicken salad recipe. The child may not mind the extra ingredient for as long as it tastes the same.
It can also help if parents try to make packing lunches exciting. It may help if you let your child choose his lunch bag, and involve him in the food preparation. Try to prepare his food the night before so that you can both have extra time. Ensure that the food you prepare can be eaten easily simply because your kid may only have a limited time to eat at school.
Your little one’s beverage also matters due to the fact that most beverages may only provide too much sugar and empty calories. Milk products and fortified 100% fruit juice are the best selections for beverages during lunch. Kids still need three eight-ounce glasses of milk daily until they reach nine years old. After that, they will need 4 servings per day. Parents need to make sure that kids consume milk because it is the easiest way for them to meet their dairy requirement in a day. You can give the kid money for milk, or you can make it appetizing for a picky kid by sending low fat chocolate milk. If the child doesn’t want to drink milk, 100% fortified fruit juice can offer him the necessary calcium and Vitamin D.
Kids crave junk foods from time to time. Although it may not be wise to deprive them entirely of it, it is possible to definitely provide healthier alternatives. These include baked potato chips, pretzels, nuts, graham crackers, and raisins. You can pack this together with their meals so they won’t need to go out of their way to eat junk foods at school.
Healthy eating habits start at home. Although parents would like to encourage healthy eating habits in children, most of the time it can be challenging considering the circumstances. Preparing your kid his lunch can go a long way, in terms of guaranteeing that you are not predisposing the youngster to obesity, and other ill-effects of poor nutrition.