Too many parents see packing a nutritious lunch for their kids as a well-intentioned but ultimately impossible effort, thinking, "There’s just not enough time, and there’s no way my kid would ever eat their veggies anyways!" However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. With a little planning and parental trickery on your part, there’s nothing stopping your children from enjoying healthy meals from home at school. With these five tips you’ll be master of the delicious, nutritious school lunch before you know it!
- Prepare Things In Advance
Packing a healthy lunch for your kids doesn’t mean you’ve got to wake up at the crack of dawn each morning to painstakingly prepare a balanced, nutritious meal. Instead, look for ways to prepare foods in advance of the school week. For example, if veggie sticks are a staple in your child’s lunchbox, then clean, peel, and chop them in bulk on Sunday so you don’t have to worry about them throughout the week.
- Make Things Fun
Sometimes it takes a little a creative marketing to get kids to eat their veggies. It may seem like a hassle to try and make nutrition “fun,” but if it gets them excited about eating healthy foods then it’s well worth the effort. One popular approach is kebab-ifying everything in sight—fruits, veggies, you name it. Any time you can manage to add a smiley face to their food is also going to be a plus.
- Mix Things Up
Kids like variety, and packing the same lunch day after day is a surefire way to turn them off to the idea of healthy eating. Instead, keep their taste buds asking for more by including a diverse range of nutritious foods in their meals. Similarly, make sure you’re including enough variety within the individual lunches as well. Balance things out with a good mix of healthy proteins, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of plant-based foods.
- Ask for Their Input
If your kids feel like they’re being ambushed with your nutritious lunch plans, they’re much less likely to be on board with the new changes. Instead, help them feel empowered to control their own health decisions by giving them options in the planning process. Obviously you can’t give them the power to choose excessively unhealthy foods, but give them options among the nutritious foods.
- Include a Treat Now and Then
Something sweet and sugary every now and then can be a great way to keep kids excited about their otherwise-healthy lunches. As long as you’re closely monitoring and regulating exactly how much tasty contraband they’re eating, there’s nothing wrong with offering it to them periodically as a special treat.