Healthful school lunches for your little ones

Healthful school lunches for your little ones

School has started up all across the country, and before you know it, it will be time for report cards. How can you keep your young scholar on track for a glowing assessment rather than a dreaded list of Cs, Ds or worse? One of the best things you can do as a parent is prepare your child a delicious, nutritious lunch every day.

In addition to a full night of restful sleep, what you pack in your kid’s lunch may make the difference between a healthy, happy student or a tired, unfocused one. Common sense and plenty of studies tell us that kids who eat a nutritious lunch are more attentive in class, more physically fit and have more energy than their peers who eat poorly.

The Basics for a Power School Lunch
To pack a healthy lunch for your kid’s scholastic performance, keep these essential nutrients in mind:

  • Protein: Proteins are the building blocks of the body, so it’s essential that growing kids get plenty. Most people assume that getting enough protein requires plenty of meat, but protein can be found in many foods, especially in nuts and legumes. Good sources of protein can be found not only in fish and poultry, but also in peanut butter and other nut butters, raw almonds, sunflower seeds and legumes such as beans or peas.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates supply the energy that our brains need to think clearly. These “good carbs,” found in whole grain bread, brown rice and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, provide a slow, time-released supply of energy that lasts for hours.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources for essential nutrients. Consider packing plenty of apple slices, baby carrots with a veggie dip, bananas, strawberries or almost everything else from the produce aisle. Packing fresh, wholesome ingredients is the simplest way to meet your child’s nutritional needs.

Avoid Food Ruts
No one likes drudgery, and packing the same old lunch for your kids every day can discourage healthy eating habits.

To keep your young student excited about eating lunch, get creative. Ditch the old peanut butter and jelly sandwich—instead, put about two tablespoons of peanut butter in a small plastic tub and include a small bag of whole grain crackers for a peanut butter fun pack.

Pita bread with a serving of hummus and veggies, pasta salad with chickpeas and a delicious dressing or a fruit and cheese plate adds variety to school lunches. Your child’s nutrient intake diversify while and you’ll avoid the boredom that comes with the same old bagged lunch.

And of course, a Mother Rucker’s cookie or two—eaten in moderation and paired with a healthy regular diet—never fails to bring smiles at the lunch table! Sneak in a sweet treat as a reward when your budding scholar scores an exceptional report card fueled by healthy lunches.