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BeFIT Resources

Pack a Tasty Lunch for Your Child’s Taste Buds

- Posted in Health & Wellness Tips

Even if you pack a healthy nutritious lunch like a cottage-cheese-stuffed bell pepper and a bran muffin, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it made its way to your child’s tummy. The best way to ensure that lunch ends up where it should is to recruit some help when packing it. Research shows kids enjoy food more if they’ve helped prepare it. Besides letting them chop and bag, there are many ways to get your children involved:

  1. Let your child choose what to pack. If you’re afraid to let them choose what goes in the box for fear it will consist entirely of junk food, let them choose between a few different approved items.
  2. Create a menu. Work with your child to come up with a list of foods she’d be happy to see in her lunchbox. Categorize them into food groups, and let your child pick an item from each group to pack. This way she has guidelines and a choice. Keep a running list of ideas (yours and your child’s) to liven up the menu periodically.
  3. Don’t overlook last-night’s dinner. Did your child really love the veggie pizza or the chicken stir-fry you had for dinner last night? Leftovers save time and make a great lunch.
  4. Allow periodic splurges. If you’ve got a die-hard chocoholic on your hands, allow the occasional treat — as long as your child is eating healthy most of the time. Some schools give kids as little as 20 minutes to eat lunch, so peel, chop, seed, and spread in advance. They’ll be more likely to eat that juicy orange if it’s already peeled and sectioned.
  5. Only pack foods that have passed the test. If they’ve never tried spring rolls, don’t pack them until they gain approval.
  6. Discuss the other leftovers. If you pack the carrot sticks and your child tosses them, no one benefits. Make sure that your child is actually eating their entire lunch–if not, then don’t pack so much. Ask them to bring home the leftovers so you can modify portion sizes next time.