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Healthy school (and work) lunches for your family

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Once September rolls around, families become busier and tend to try and cut corners where they can to save time and energy. This is a great strategy, for many areas of daily life, but school and work lunches shouldn't be the corner you cut in order to save time. By not putting thought and preparation into the family lunches, you could be missing important vitamins and nutrients needed for growing children and busy parents.

Taking time to prepare lunches for everyone should not take away from healthy food choices. There are many different choices that you can include each day that are quick and easy to prepare. If you focus on the 4 main food groups, you can make it easier to choose food items that help keep you and your children healthy.

  • Dairy: cheese strings, Baby Bell cheese wheels, yogurt tubes are all good dairy choices and do not need and preparation time at all
  • Grains: sandwiches, pita wraps, bagels and crackers are easy ways to get grains into your family's diet regularly.
  • Fruits/Veggies: raw veggies and fruits can be cut up and make into easy finger snacks. Applesauce and fruit cups are great choices that won't take time to prepare out of your schedule.
  • Protein: different types of protein will depend on your family's favorites. Luncheon meat, beans -including hummus, nuts and nut-butters (if you are allowed in your school or workplace) and hard-boiled eggs are easy ways to get protein daily.

The healthy lunch choices are easy; the more difficult part can come from determining what your child will love to eat. Try to change up their food choices so that they do not get bored and look forward to their lunches each day. Even the best lunches lose their appeal when it is offered day in and day out. Use your imagination, try to make their lunch fun and be sure include a nice note from you and lunch time will be fun for everyone.

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