Making sure our kids eat healthy food has rightly become a national obsession, and I’m sure you, like most parents, want a healthy lunch idea that helps your kids stay motivated, full of energy and reach their real potential.
There are some really excellent reasons to make sure our kids eat healthy, and here are two of the most important.
1. Studies have shown that children who eat a healthy lunch are more motivated at school and basically do better. This is what we all want for our children and it is great that we have parents to easily make this happen!
2. Child obesity is a growing problem in North America – 5 million adolescents aged 6-17 are clinically obese. By introducing your children to a healthy diet early, you gave them a life full of health!
Of course, there are many other reasons that I will not state. I guess if you read this, you are already convinced of the value of providing healthy food and snacks to your family!
So what are some tips to help you provide healthy meal options for your children?
1. Well, first, keep healthy snacks lying around the house. Children are natural grasses and if they do not have healthy snacks available they will sneak unhealthy options. In fact, I would suggest that you have a cupboard to clean and try to remove any unhealthy snacks so the kids can’t see them and you’re not tempted to “give in” in a stressful moment.
* Some good healthy snack tips are:
– Humus and vegetable sticks
– Salsa and roasted beans mixed together to create a nice snack or dip for toasted pita rads
– Roasted pitadier bars and low fat farmer farming
– Sweet and crispy vegetable slices like carrot and red pepper
All of these are quick, easy to make and store in the fridge ready for when you need them.
2. Another important idea for healthy eating is to make food that is easy for your children to eat AND easy for you to cook. You are probably a busy person, so do not stretch yourself, there are many good quick, easy options available.
* Easy tip: Wrapping is easy and kids love them. Try adding a few new ingredients this way. My favorites are baked tofu, peanut butter and snow peas wrap and turkey breast, mozzarella, cucumber, avocado and alfalfa sprouts. Both blend ingredients children have tried before and new. Try swapping peanut butter for cashew or almond butter for different ones.
3. Try to prepare as much in advance as you can. You are unlikely to be able to come home from work and put 100% effort into your kids meals or cook lots of food first thing in the morning. So choose a time where you can give it your full attention and prepare yourself a few days in advance. Some things like sauces and dips stay awhile, so find out when is a good time for you to get your cooking on! When you can cook, it is also a good indication of what type of lunch to cook. If you really only have free time on the weekends for something complicated, choose things that will last and need very little extra preparation first thing in the morning.
* Top tip: Many meals can be frozen, which is a good tip for meals after school. Cooking a large casserole, soup or casserole and distributing in bags in the following week is always a good idea. For school lunches, try to get your ingredients ready a few days before. Boiled chicken and turkey breast last for 3-4 days. You can also make any dip like ranch dressing 3-4 days in advance. Tuna mayo will hold as well, but I suggest you keep it well sealed as it can make your fridge smell!
4. Try to keep your child involved in the healthy eating process whenever possible. If your child hates sweet things (unlikely, but sometimes it happens!) Don’t force them, look instead for tasty lunches and vice versa. You want to introduce your children to new types of food and dining experiences and this can be an enjoyable process for everyone. Choosing things they really can’t stand will be like hitting a masonry every meal.
5. A good tip for getting kids started with new food experiences is to use portion management. Mix a small amount of the new food together with something you know they like and slowly introduce a variety of foods this way. Just remember it’s OK that your little one doesn’t like everything, I know I don’t and I’m sure you’re the same! For example, if you Try adding avocado and celery to a tuna mayo salad.
Great healthy lunch ideas that your kids will love are easy to find if you follow these rules: Keep it simple, don’t stretch yourself, get your little one’s input and introduce things slowly. You will be a family full of healthy eaters in no time!