Get Packing: Back-to-School Tips for a Healthier Lunchbox
27, August 2014 8:00 AM

Nothing says “back to school” like backpacks, school supplies and packing lunches. At the start of the school year, it’s easy  to forget about making time to pack a lunch during your busy morning routine.  Even if you are able to throw a lunch together before you’re out the door, you’re never quite sure if what you’ve packed will actually get eaten.  Where does the balance lie between packing a healthy lunch and providing foods kids will actually eat? 

Our Lunch Box printable has over 36 kid-friendly options to help you pack in all five food groups. This guide makes lunch-making easier. Simply choose from each category and you‘re good to go! Here are more great tips to help.

Time Saving Tips

If you decide to pack a lunch, plan and prepare the night before to ensure all five food groups are on tomorrow’s menu. Research shows that milk is often missing from lunches brought from home. Did you know your child can purchase milk from the school cafeteria? Milk and milk products provide essential nutrients like high-quality protein, calcium, potassium and other vitamins required for a healthy diet.

When time is crunched, buying meals from the school lunch program is a nutritionally-balanced and affordable alternative to packing a lunch. School meals are required to be the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and offer students the right balance of fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free milk, whole grains and lean protein with every meal. Check out your child's school cafeteria as many schools have invested in improving and enhancing their school foodservice options with salad bars, smoothies and other appealing options.  

Packing for a Picky Eater

It’s one thing to pack healthy food, but another to get kids to eat what you pack. Try showcasing foods bento-box style or in silicone muffin cups to make them fun to eat.  Another strategy is to explore some kid-friendly recipes and ask your kids to pick the winning dishes. Get your kids’ input during grocery shopping and packing, too.

Read more: Making Packing School Lunches Family Time

Nicole Mize, Dairy Council of California undergraduate dietetic intern

Tags: back to school Healthy eating healthy kids Nicole Mize
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating for Kids

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