Lunch Packing 101
(NAPSI)-Busy parents know the school year means a packed planner filled with everything from recitals to soccer games to parent-teacher conferences. As time gets stretched, they often fall back on routines, one of which is what they pack for lunch.
“Everyone needs some shortcuts to help during the busy school season, especially when it comes to packing a lunch,” says nutrition expert Bridget Swinney, M.S., R.D. “But it’s important to give your kids variety, make it fun and filled with favorites so you can feel confident your kids will eat their lunch and stay nourished throughout the day.” Following are some tips to help parents pack a lunch they know their kids will love and they can feel good about sending in their backpacks.
Get Kids Involved
Help your kids get excited about lunchtime by including them in the process. Invite them along to the grocery store and have them pick out nutritious foods from each food group. They’ll be more likely to eat foods they picked out, and they might just learn about the food groups during the process.
Use the weekends to think ahead about packing lunches. Cut up vegetables and fruit, pre-make sandwiches, and stock up on healthy snacks so there’s minimal preparation in the morning.
Make it Fun
Break out of a lunchtime rut by brainstorming creative ways to capture your kids’ appetites and attention. Encourage them to “play with their food” by using cookie cutters to create sandwiches in fun shapes or wrap their sandwich in a whole grain tortilla and cut into bite-sized pinwheel pieces. Of course, including a quick note or joke will brighten any child’s day.
Take a Dip
Kids love to dip their foods, so let them have fun with it. First combine an assortment of veggies like carrots, grape tomatoes, and red bell peppers. Then include a dip of your choice like low-fat dressing, hummus, or yogurt for some dipping fun.