Packing a Perfect Lunch Box

Kids today are very choosy when it comes to food. They especially prefer the sweet-looking, colorful, not-one-ounce-of-nutrient-found-in-them kind of foods. That is why, to ensure that your kids have the energy and nutrition they need to tackle school work and extra-curricular activities, you need to give them the right food. Here’s what you need to include:

Protein

Your kid needs about eight grams of high quality protein in his/her diet. Start by preparing a Protein entrée. Protein is an important building block bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Hair and nails are made of protein. The body uses protein to repair and build tissues. The body also uses protein to make enzymes and other body chemicals. Protein stabilizes your kids blood sugar levels and can help your kid feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Here are some good sources of protein:

  • Turkey roll ups
  • Ham and cheese pinwheels (lean ham and low-fat sliced cheese rolled in whole wheat tortillas)
  • Part skim string cheese
  • Low-fat or non-fat yogurt with a small bag of whole grain cereal
  • Soy nuggets
  • Vegetable bean or chicken noodle soup in a thermos
  • Turkey or ham sandwich (on wheat bread with mustard or low-fat mayo)
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (use low-sugar jam and whole wheat bread)
  • Grilled chicken and vegetable wrap
  • Pasta salad with vegetables and shredded chicken (tossed in light Italian dressing)
  • Scoop of chicken salad made with low-fat mayo plus whole grain crackers or mini rice cakes
  • Turkey or bean chili in a thermos

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables are always a good source of nutrients. Making your kids eat fruits is easy. Making them eat fruits is an entirely different matter. Experts say that, the trick is to just keep serving vegetables. It does not matter that your kids reject them at first. Just keep serving them and eventually they will start eating them. In the meantime, serve them lots of fruits. If they do not like munching on apples or banana, you can always make smoothies out of those fruits.

Here are some easy to pack vegetables that are popular with kids:

Raw

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Pepper sticks (especially red)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • •Sliced cucumbers

Cooked

  • Sugar snap peas
  • String beans
  • Broccoli
  • Corn on the cob

For fruits, easy to pack favorites include:

  • apples
  • bananas
  • peaches
  • plums
  • clementines
  • grapes

No Caloric Beverages

Feeding kids caloric beverages in not advisable. Instead, put all the calories they need in their food. The best option is still water. Freeze them at night so that by lunch time, your kid’s water is still cold. If your kids want something with flavor, just as long as they do not have too many calories or sugar. You kids’ drink should keep them well hydrated. Opt for home-made juices. There are several recipes you can look up online or in cook books.

Fun Foods

Kids are still kids so let them enjoy their childhood. Include fun foods when preparing their lunch box. Remember though to avoid trans fat and high fructose corn syrup. Also keep in mind that snacks should be portion appropriate and no more than 150 calories.

Here are some fun foods for your kids:

  • Low-fat granola bars
  • 100-calorie packs
  • Baked chips
  • Soy crisps
  • 2 cookies
  • 4 Hershey Kisses
  • A Rice Krispie Treat
  • Container of low-fat pudding
  • •A fun-size chocolate bar
  • Pretzels or popcorn