They say “the secret to someone’s heart is through their stomach”. Show your child how much you love them by sending them to school with a lunch box full of an assortment of enjoyable (and healthy) foods!
Let’s face it, the same old sandwich, chips, and apple can be rather boring to a child (or an adult!). The goal is to be as creative as possible! Try making cucumber sandwiches (cucumbers act as the bread or cracker) or tuna salad filled lettuce cups.
You can use “my plate” as a good outline to follow when making lunches.
- Make ½ the lunch fruits and vegetables -Aim to provide a variety of fruits and vegetables. Try using different cutting methods such as cucumber coins, sticks, triangles, ½ moons, etc.
- Add lean protein or lower fat dairy – Include lower fat/sodium deli meats, egg salad made of mostly egg whites, tuna salad with low fat mayo, low fat yogurt with berries, hummus with veggie dippers, and/or peanut butter banana bites.
- Include high fiber grains – Pick your breads and other carbohydrate based snacks (crackers, bars, or cereal) wisely, paying close attention to the fiber contents (rule of thumb: the more the better! No really, more than 3 grams of fiber per serving is good!)
FOR EXAMPLE: Take a few slices of lean deli meat and a slice of low fat cheese; roll it up with a pickle in the middle. Pair the roll up with homemade baked sweet potato coins and grapes.
If the food alone doesn’t have your child loving lunch time, try adding a sweet little note so they know how proud you are and how much you love them.
Download the fruit sticker template at http://ohhappyday.com/2012/08/fruit-stickers-for-kids/
Tidbit for the grown up kid!
The “my plate” guidelines are relevant to the adult lunch, as well. Many work places have refrigerators and microwaves, which allows you to bring in more lunch options. The important thing is to treat yourself to a fun lunch that is full of variety. This may include similar creativity that we use with kids. A smiley face sandwich may not be warranted, but keeping your lunch full of interesting foods will keep you from straying to convenient, fast food joints because you don’t really “love” your lunch today.