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Lunches They’ll Love to Eat

Alright! Phew! We’ve survived the first month of back-to-school! The routine has (somewhat) set in…but what about lunches?

Studies have shown that children who eat a well-balanced lunch often do better in school and are more alert. Making lunches can be a struggle and a chore. I get it! Fear not! I’m here with tips and tricks to help you make quick, easy and healthy lunches your kids will be sure to eat (especially all that “good-for-you” stuff).

Start off by getting the kids involved – give them a role in planning, buying and preparing their lunches. This can save you some time AND can bring you together as a family…an added perk is that they will be more likely to eat the food they put effort into making!

On the weekend, plan weekday lunches with your kids. Make a list of their favorite healthy foods. This is a good opportunity to talk about the different “types” of healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, proteins and healthy fats. Inspire them to come up with creative lunch combos with their favorite foods and get them to help you make a grocery list.

Here are some ideas to throw out there to get the creative juices flowin’:

• Fruit smoothie? Yes, please! Make a fruit smoothie the night before using their favorite fruit, low fat Greek yogurt, half a banana and lower-fat milk or unsweetened, fortified milk alternative (e.g. soy). It will be nice and slushy by lunchtime. Throw in some spinach before blending for some extra greens! (They’ll never know…muwhahah).

• Pre-cut raw veggies into bite-size pieces and serve with dip or a nut (or nut-free) butter, pesto, hummus or guacamole – whatever you kids will eat.

• Spread brown-rice cakes with nut (or a nut-free) butter or light cream cheese

• Instead of bread, try a whole-wheat tortilla for a sandwich. Roll one up with some hummus, lower-fat cheese, a quarter of an avocado and whatever veggies they like – try spinach, grated carrot, and cucumber and tomato slices.

• What’s better than popcorn as a snack? I know, right?! Toss air-popped popcorn with cinnamon for a sweet treat or sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese. It’s a great whole-grain snack.

• Be creative with ice packs! Freeze a small container of cottage cheese or yogurt. Add them to their lunches and they’ll be thawed by lunch.

Next, get them involved in lunch-prep. This can be a fun family activity after dinner. Get the kids to take turns helping with the dishes and making lunches.

Challenge: put on some music and work as a family to get the dishes and lunches made in 5 songs!

 

Jenn Giurgevich is a Registered Dietitian and contract Professor at Brescia University College with a wealth of nutrition knowledge. Over the last 10+ years, Jenn has paired her love for nutrition and health with her undeniable love for fitness, working as both a personal trainer and fitness instructor.

 

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