Healthy Lunch Box Tips
A healthy school lunch is essential to boost your child’s energy, help them concentrate and learn throughout the day, and keep their immune system strong. Here are some simple tips to help you pack a healthy lunch for your children throughout the school year.
These tips aren't exclusive for kids - grown ups need to remember to pack your healthy lunches as well!
Kids need a serving of protein at lunchtime
Chicken & vegetable soup or beef barley soup (its easy to hide dark leafy greens in soups such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, bok coy, etc. Try making homemade, vegetable based soups with leftover chicken or beef from dinner)
Quinoa & bean salad
Hardboiled eggs or egg salad sandwich
Turkey slices and cheese wrapped in a lettuce leaf or whole grain pita
Salmon (smoked salmon salad sandwich)
Hummus (made from chickpeas which are high in protein; it can be used as a dip with pita bread and/or vegetables such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc.)
Chicken salad sandwich:
1 cup cooked chicken breast (chopped)
½ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced carrots
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1-2 green onions (finely sliced)
2-4 Tbsp mayonnaise (or try ½ avocado)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and add to whole grain bread, a bed of mixed greens, or wrap in a lettuce leaf
High quality fat is necessary for proper brain development.
Mashed avocado with lime and salt
Try using avocado in recipes that ask for mayonnaise; add lemon juice to prevent browning
Healthy nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.) Always check with your school policy about nuts.
Flaxseed and chia seeds added to smoothies or sprinkled over oatmeal or yogurt
Almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter as a dip for apple slices, celery, or crackers
For many children, a high dose omega 3 supplement with DHA may be necessary. Talk to us to learn more about the dose and type of supplement your child needs.
Healthy Snack Ideas
Fresh fruits and vegetables:
Apple slices, orange slices, banana, fresh berries, grapes, sliced carrots, cucumbers and celery sticks with hummus or tzatziki dip
Vary the selection of fruits and vegetables to keep kids interested
Peel and slice fruits & vegetables if possible
Try making a fruit salad or vegetable salad
Raisins or prunes
Greek yogurt topped with fruit, nuts and seeds, chia seeds, etc.
Homemade granola bars with nuts or seeds and dates
Note: most store bought granola bars are packed with sugar. Watch for granola bars with 5g of sugar or less.
Homemade muffins such as morning glory, chocolate zucchini walnut, or bran muffins
Trail mix: try a brand with raw, unroasted nuts or make your own
Homemade naturally sweetened cookie
Water, water, water! Try to avoid juice boxes or sodas since these options are packed with unnecessary sugar. Pack a water bottle with your child and add lemon, mint leaves, cucumber, etc. Or try making homemade lemonade for a special treat.
If you do serve juice, mix with half water to cut down sugar content
Get your kids involved
It’s really important to get your kids involved in healthy meal planning. It is in the kitchen where they develop a love for food. Kids of all ages can help and it creates excitement to eat the finished product. Even if its simply choosing one piece of fruit and two vegetables for their lunch, it still involves them in the process and develops healthy eating habits.