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Parents Guide To Making a Healthy Lunch For Kids

Anne Kolker • MS, Registered Dietitian • Aug 04, 2011
 Summer vacation, it always goes by too fast. Yet there is excitement in the air. Your child is in a new grade and settling in with his new teacher. You’ve connected with families you haven’t seen over the summer and your child is happy to see old friends.
Ahhh, but back to school lunch. What should a parent do when a child only wants to buy school lunch and it isn’t healthy, or a child is bored with the lunches you pack from home? And really, does one meal a day make a difference? Yes. When kids get used to eating high fat food, this can form a long-term habit (fat does taste good). The time to set permanent healthy behavior is early and reinforcing during school is no exception.

School Lunch Box Challenges

Depending on the age of your child, have her help plan lunch or even prepare part of it. This can be done just once or twice a week to get your child involved.
Remember that children love to get out and play and sometimes will eat very little so they can have more time on the school playground. Packing a snack for early or late recess may be a good idea (peanuts and cashews are full of fiber and protein). Don’t be upset with them if their lunch is only half consumed. She is just a social butterfly. Offer sliced peaches and plain yogurt when she gets home. Make a fruit smoothie with your son using frozen fruit, low fat vanilla yogurt, and milk.
Talk to your child about the lunch program and help him choose a healthy option. Although it is quite convenient not to pack a lunch, try a bag lunch at least two times a week. For older kids this can help your budget as kids who can go off campus can spend a lot on lunch (of questionable nutritional value).
What makes a healthy lunch?
A healthy lunch contains at least 4 food groups.  See our list of foods for a healthy lunch by food groups.
Have a great school year, one that is full of healthy, nutritious school lunches!











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Written by Anne KolkerWritten on Aug 04, 2011Last updated on Aug 31, 2014




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