Many parents worry about their children not eating well during the school day. . The more we learn about nutrition and the importance of the nutrients, vitamins and healthy foods on the brain and the body, we know how essential it is that our kids have a healthy lunch to fuel their bodies. Studies have shown that hungry kids do not perform as well in school, and that nutrition is an essential for setting your kids up for success. As a result, and in honor of back to school time, here at SWAP, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for ensuring that your kids are getting the proper nutrition during the school day, and actually EATING the lunches that you’ve so thoughtfully packed.
5 Tips for Packing Lunches that Your Kids Will Eat!
Have your child help:
Kids loving being “helpers”. It is so important to get kids involved in the kitchen and involved in preparing their food. Take your children food shopping with you and have them pick out what they’d like to eat. Kids are more likely to eat what they’ve picked out! Have them select their favorite fruits and veggies for their lunch. Have your child select which fruit and veggie they’d like, then help prepare it (wash it if they’re little, cut it up if they’re old enough, put it in their lunchbox). Once they see the work involved in preparing their lunch, and feel as if they’re contributing , they’re going to be more likely to eat what they’ve packed.
Talk to your children about the importance of eating healthy food
Kids are little sponges. They’re always learning new things and absorbing what we teach them. Sit down with your kiddos and discuss how important it is to eat well. Talk to your children about the importance of vitamins and nutrients, and how they affect our bodies. For instance, we know that Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for healthy eyesight, skin, growth, and fighting infections. Talk to them, in “kid” language, how eating their carrot sticks will help them to grow big and strong, and how it is important for healthy eyes and skin. Or, if they love sports, talk with your child about the importance of protein for strong muscles for playing football. Once kids understand WHY eating healthy foods is so important, they’re going to be more likely to eat what you’ve given them.
Make it fun and easy!
So, this is no-brainer. But food should be FUN. And kids love fun food. It might be a little extra work, but if you take a teeny-tiny bit of extra time to cut their food into fun shapes, either using a cookie-cutter or simply a knife, even the fussiest eaters come home with empty lunch boxes. Make lunches easy to eat, and minimize hard-to-open packaging. Like adults, kids eat with their eyes first, too. Make their lunches visually appealing. If you make sure that the food looks appealing and fun, your kids will be far more likely to eat it. Not to mention, if you limit the amount of packaging, your kids will have more time to eat their lunches, instead of spending extra time trying to open them!
Have your kids pick out their lunchbox
Have your child pick out their favorite lunch box and they will look forward to lunch time and eating all of the yummy goodies you’ve packed for them. Let them pick out a water bottle in their favorite color to ensure that they’re drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated throughout the long school day!
Let them know you’re thinking about them
This might sound a little silly, but little ones love when to know that they are on on your mind. include a secret little note in their lunches – it can be as simple as a hand-drawn heart on a piece of paper a little joke. It may seem like a small gesture, but to most kids, it is the littlest things that mean the most!
So, there you have it! 5 tips for making back-to-school lunches. What are your favorite tips? Share in the comments below!