Packed lunches offer us a chance to have a little more control over what kids eat at school. Healthy lunches provide the nutrition and energy to help our children focus and concentrate. It’s hard to learn with a rumbling tummy! Here are just a few suggestions on how to pack a delicious, nutritious lunch.
Think outside the lunchbox: sandwiches don’t need to be the norm. Kids get bored of the same food, so why not switch to pita bread or tortillas? Making a burrito is simple and you can put all kinds of delicious fillings inside. If your child is a picky eater, this may be a chance to add some hidden shredded veggies. If lunch includes bread or pasta be sure to choose wholegrain.
You can pack leftovers from the night before. For something fresh, Soups and warm foods can be taken to school in a thermos or other insulated container. consider packing maki rolls, my kids’ favorite packed lunch. Skip the raw fish; use cooked fish and a variety of veggies. Add edamame and seaweed snacks to complete the Japanese theme.
Generally kids don’t need to worry about fat content, so avoid low fat yoghurt and be sure to look for brands with live cultures
Whether they’re eaten at a separate break time or during lunch, healthy snacks are a necessity. Nuts and seeds are always great options because of their portability. In terms of nutritional value, raw unsalted versions are best. Consider packing almonds, cashews, walnuts, shelled pistachios, or pumpkin and sunflower seeds. These are all excellent brain foods thanks to their good fat content, specifically omega 3 oils. They also help us feel full longer, and keep kids’ blood sugar stable. If kids aren’t fans of nuts you can search online for energy ball recipes. They are tasty and fun to eat.
If your child is okay with dairy add some yogurt to boost the protein content of the snack. Generally kids don’t need to worry about fat content, so avoid low fat yogurt and be sure to look for brands with live cultures. Probiotics are so important for overall health! Don’t forget to add fruit to the mix. Fruit is a good source of carbohydrate, which is the brains source of fuel. In Beijing there’s a huge variety of fruits available at this time of year. No two fruits have the same nutritional profile, so eating different types is key.
Well fed kids do better in school, so talk to your child and share this important information with them. If they know the reasons for eating a healthier lunch, they may be more willing to try something new.
This article originally appeared on page 24 of the beijingkids August 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Melissa (Flickr)