Every parent wants to make sure their child is eating a healthy, satisfying lunch at school. However, you can't always count on your child to choose the healthiest option while in the lunch line, and you also aren’t aware of how the food is being prepared.
The best way to ensure that your child has healthy food choices at lunch is to make their lunch at home and provide them with enough good food that they’ll be likely to eat it.
Here are some ways to give your son or daughter healthy options for school lunch:
1. Pack Stuff They Like
You know the healthy foods that your child craves. Make sure to put several of these foods in their lunch each day in enough quantity that it will be satisfying and filling.
2. Make it the Night Before
If you make their lunch the night before school, it will save you much needed time in the morning. Too often, as the hectic morning rush consumes us, we throw up our hands and say, “Here’s a couple of bucks. Just buy lunch today.” That becomes a crutch we depend on, and we should avoid that if possible.
3. Go Healthy
There are tons of food choices out there, and even when you think you’re giving your child healthy foods, less healthy ingredients might be lurking. If you can afford it, provide them foods without high fructose corn syrup. Choose foods with natural sugars instead.
4. Talk About It
Periodically, you should ask your child whether they like the foods you’re packing. Are there other options they'd like t have for lunch? Are there foods that their friends eat that they'd like to try?
5. Pack a Treat
A lunch of carrots, celery, tomatoes, and applesauce might be healthy, but it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. Try to find a salty or sweet snack that your child might like and might give them a reward for eating such a wholesome lunch.
6. Pack Extra
Your kid might get super hungry at the end of the school day, especially if they have an early lunch. Make sure to pack a snack or food item that will last throughout the day, that they can enjoy when the hunger pangs hit.
7. Don’t Pack Too Much
It’s a fine line. Sometimes our kids are ravenously hungry at lunch and sometimes they eat like a bird. Try to discover that fine line so you’re not wasting food but also giving them enough to fill them up.
8. Good Eating Habits
The best thing to do, of course, is to create good eating habits at home. If your child gets in the routine of eating snacks rather than dinner or lunch, they will probably do the same during lunch at school. However, if they are taught to save that sweet snack for after their sandwich and fruit, they’ll be more likely to follow that rule at school.