Start your school year off right with a healthy routine of involving your child in making his or her lunch for school. Talk about likes and dislikes and healthy choices, take a trip to the grocery store and assemble the lunch together.
Daphna Steinberg, registered dietitian, has some tips for back-to-school lunches that are nutritious and delicious.
Think outside of the two slices of bread
Does your kid like to graze rather than eat a sandwich everyday? Pack a bento box style lunch of veggies and hummus or white bean dip, cheese and crackers and a fruit salad. Throw in some edamame, soy nuts or pumpkin seeds.
Pack some protein
Your child needs protein to keep going throughout the school day. Meat, mini cans of tuna or other fish, eggs and cottage cheese are good sources of protein. Baked chickpeas pack a crunch and some protein.
Get a good Thermos
Pack a Thermos with leftovers from last night’s dinner: soups, chilis, pasta make great Thermos leftovers.
If you’ve got leftover chicken, cut it up and add it to a salad (put the salad dressing on the bottom of the container, put in hard veggies like red peppers and mini tomatoes then add the lettuce so it doesn’t get soggy). Or, cook up some extra pasta noodles during dinnertime and turn them into a Greek pasta salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and olives, with a little olive oil and vinegar dressing. If you child doesn’t mind eating the same thing a few days in a row, you can make a big batch of pasta salad and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Spice up your sandwiches
Forget the bread and jam. Try something new and exciting. Sprouts (wash them really well), herbs or hummus can help liven up a boring old sandwich.
Don’t forget an ice pack, and a water bottle or milk. Be sure to double-check the no-good foods for your child’s classroom. (And remember, adults can take a bagged lunch too, and these ideas can work for us as well!)