With an abundance of artificial-colored, commercially processed, and sugar-laden foods, getting your children to make healthy decisions can be a daunting, but necessary task. Children require proper nutrition in order to make it through their school day. Good quality protein is necessary for proper growth and a healthy immune system. High quality fats are important for brain development, cell growth, and metabolism. Making sure that your child is eating a healthy daily dose of fruits and vegetables should be a top priority for parents. A recent study revealed that fifty-five percent of five-year-olds consume less than two servings of fruits and vegetables each day. How can we expect high-performance from our children if they are not putting high-performance, healthy foods in their growing bodies?
Why is it important to eat a healthy lunch?
Eating lunch helps you:
Concentrate: It gives your brain energy
Be active: A proper lunch gives you energy so you can have fun in the playground
Learn: The foods you eat help you to see, listen and help your brain work efficiently
Healthy alternatives to sweets include:
- Organic fruit like an apple or banana with 1-2 tablespoons of almond butter.
- Organic homemade trail mix (equal amounts of raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds, dried golden or black raisins and cranberries, raw slivered almonds, dried chopped dates). Mix in a Ziploc® bag. Add your favorite healthy ingredients to create your favorite trail mix.
- Organic whole-wheat pretzels or crackers.
- “Bugs on a log”—celery with almond or peanut butter and raisins.
- Baked potato chips (instead of fried).
- Healthy Granola/Cereal bars (look for amount of sugar in each serving—every four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon of sugar added to the product)
- Yogurt with fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas)
How do you make a healthy lunchbox?
Creating a healthy lunchbox is as easy as one, two, three …
- Pack a sandwich or roll
- Add fresh fruit or fruit snack pack
- Select one-to-two healthy snacks
- Include a thirst-quenching Water Bottle. (Water is the best drink as it stops you feeling thirsty. Other drinks like soft drinks are loaded with sugar. And diet drinks have artificial sweeteners, chemicals, additives and are not as good at re-hydrating & refreshing your body.
Eating should be fun. Involve your child in helping you make a healthy lunchbox by shopping together and preparing the food together. Here is a healthy lunchbox weekly schedule:
DAY One: organic fruit yogurt, whole wheat pocket pita filled with grilled chicken, avocado, cucumber, tomato and lettuce, apple or pear, slice of banana bread, bottle of water
DAY Two: carton of plain organic milk or goats milk, hummus and sunflower sprouts on whole wheat tortilla, twenty grapes, fruit muffin, bottle of water
DAY Three: organic low-fat cheese stick, whole wheat bread with almond butter and organic jelly, homemade organic trail mix, fruit yogurt, bottle of water
DAY Four: frozen fruit smoothie/organic yogurt drink, whole wheat bread with egg, tomato, cucumber & organic cheese sandwich, mixed organic berries like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, celery sticks with almond butter and raisins, bottle of water
DAY Five: small tub of creamed rice, tuna & salad on whole grain roll, tub of fruit in natural juice, carrot and or celery sticks with salsa dip, a muesli or fruit bar, bottle of water
- Organic peanut butter or almond butter on celery
- Baby greens, organic sprouts, cheese and turkey breast without nitrates wrapped in whole grain tortillas
- Frozen fruit & protein smoothie
- Akmak crackers, chopped veggies (cucumber, tomato wedges, celery, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, fav veggies) and hummus(garbanzo bean dip)
- Hot, homemade soup in an insulated thermos and a snack-size baggie full of organic crackers
- Cream cheese and pickles on toasted Kamut bread
- Organic peanut butter and honey on rice cake
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Organic cheese and mustard on toasted Spelt bread
- Cold Buckwheat pancakes with almond or peanut butter and bananas
- Cream cheese sandwich with organic jam
- Egg salad made with organic relish, mustard and safflower mayonnaise on rye or whole wheat bread
- Baby greens, cheese and turkey breast (no nitrates) wrapped in whole grain tortillas
- Turkey breast straight from a baked turkey (no nitrates), in halved pita bread with lettuce, safflower mayo and pickles or sweet relish
- Sliced organic cheese or cheese sticks from an organic dairy like Horizon
**Use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into different shapes for aesthetic appeal