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Tips on packing healthy school lunches

September 10, 2015
Marina Lucio , MOV Parent

School is back in session and for some of us the task of packing school lunches may be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Help fuel your little ones with quick, healthy lunches to energize them and get them through the day. Learn to pack healthy lunches your kids will love, while also saving time and money!

Plan Lunch Menus

Plan a lunch menu for each week. Be sure to include all 5 food groups and provide some variety. Different foods provide different nutrients for kids to grow, learn and play, so it is important to give them as much variety as possible. Variety also helps keep school lunches interesting and exciting for kids. No one likes to eat the same thing everyday. Be sure to budget for school lunches to save money. Buy what you need to get through the week. Budgeting not only helps to save money, but is also a great way to ensure that you don't buy too much or too little.

Find Time to Pack

Find a time in your day that is best for you to pack school lunches. If you and your little ones are usually in a rush every morning, pack the night before. If you tend to be an early riser, maybe packing in the morning is best. Whichever time you chose, be sure that you give yourself enough time to pack all the food groups. Stick to the lunch menus you plan each week, so you don't forget any food items.

Have What You Need

Make sure to have a lunch box, an ice pack and containers to make packing a breeze. It is hard to get anything accomplished when you don't have the right equipment, so be sure to have appropriate containers for packing kid-sized lunches. Using appropriate containers helps to ensure that you pack the right amount of each food. Packing accurate sized portions for your child helps to prevent packing too much, which can contribute to overeating or food waste. It can also ensure that your child gets enough food to fuel their bodies and minds for the rest of the day. An ice pack is a great addition to keeping cold lunches cold which ensures that food stays safe and its quality remains intact. Provide a reusable water bottle for kids to stay hydrated and ensure they get enough water throughout the day. Remember, water first for thirst!

Marina Lucio, RDN, LD is a Nutrition Education Coordinator at Children's Hunger Alliance.



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