1. Educate Yourself
You won’t become a health expert overnight but if you start making one small change at a time, you’ll find that come next school year, the eating habits of your family will have drastically changed. Where to start? Read product labels and researching the ingredients. A great trick to healthy eating is shopping the perimeter of the grocery store (deli, produce, dairy, meat, etc) instead of the center aisles where most processed food is sold.
2. Educate Your Child
When teaching your kids about health, get creative and think like a child. Instead of “eat this because it’s good for you”, tell your active little boy “You’ll want to try this! Spiderman is a HUGE fan of this because it makes your muscles grow.” Or next time they’re eating an orange tell them, “oranges are really good for us! They have a lot of Vitamin C and that helps us fight the bad germs that try and make us sick!” Don’t underestimate your ability as a parent to shape your impressionable child.
3. Plan Ahead
In our fast-paced lives, it can be difficult to throw together a healthy lunch when you’re first adopting better habits. Making a weekly plan will put you one step ahead of the game and prevent those stressed-out weeknights where you just want to order pizza and throw a Lunchable into your kids school bag.
4. Make it Fun!
Let’s get one thing straight -- I am NOT the mother who sends a happy-face-shaped watermelon with googly berry eyes in my kids’ lunch! As much as I envy those domesticated women who can make a cucumber look like SpongeBob SquarePants, that is not me! But I do try to make lunches fun by using a few of the following simple tricks:
Foods with dips
Veggies + Greek yogurt dressing
Whole wheat pita + hummus
Fresh fruit + yogurt
Apple slices + almond butter
Stackables: whole grain crackers + cheese slices + nitrite-free deli meat
Lettuce leaves + tuna salad
Veggie taco: mini tortilla + lettuce + tomato + shredded cheese
Think outside of PB&J
Rice cake + natural peanut butter + raisins
Greek yogurt + low-sugar granola
Rolled up whole wheat tortilla with cream cheese + nitrite-free deli meat
Raw nuts trail mix + raisins + popcorn
5. Keep it Real
With our Monday to Thursday lunches being health-tastic, Friday became “Special Lunch Day”. Having a weekly treat helps keep all of us from feeling deprived and makes our regular healthy lunches even more enjoyable!