Preparing meals is a daily task that can take a great deal of time and effort. When it comes to making lunch, parents want something that they or their child can prepare in the 30 minutes generally given for a lunch break. These healthy lunch ideas may be just the ticket!
Include your child when it comes to making healthy lunches. Whether or not they are headed to school, prepare food you know they will enjoy. Having their input will help you make something they will eat. In other words, if your child doesn’t like tortilla shells, you won’t prepare different wraps each day for lunch.
Be sure to include fresh fruit. A small bunch of grapes, a cut up apple, banana or other fruit will help take care of your child’s sweet tooth and be a healthier choice than dessert. When you bring the fruit home, wash it, cut it up and the place it in snack size plastic bags. This is a great idea when you prepare your child’s lunch for school.
Offer whole wheat crackers, low-fat lunch meat and low-fat cheese for your child to make their own ‘Lunchables’ style meal. This will allow them to feel like they have more control over what they eat but you’ll still be providing healthy alternatives. The pre-packaged choices really aren’t healthy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer something similar that is.
Sandwiches are often a necessity because they are quick to prepare. Rather than using white bread, which is considered to be less healthy, choose a whole grain variety. This will allow you to give them the sandwich they desire on healthier bread. Offer the ingredients separately so they have the choice of making a sandwich or eating the ingredients on their own.
Make tuna salad sandwiches, wrap them individually and then place them in the freezer overnight. When you take them out to put in your child’s lunchbox, they will thaw and be ready to eat when lunch time comes.
Take time to make a healthy snack mix including dried fruit, unsalted nuts, carob chips and pretzels. If you make this once a week and put it into single size servings, it will be ready when you need it.
Freeze juice boxes if you’re sending juice to school with your child for lunch. The juice will thaw in the hours before lunch and it will keep your child’s food cool. You can also use the same idea with other beverages and see how they quickly they thaw.
Lunches at home or for school don’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Start with things you know your child will like. Ask them what they prefer and you might be surprised at the answers. Remember to offer foods from each food group and you can’t go wrong.