Summer is coming to an end, and school is about to start. That, of course, means it’s time to get back into a school-year routine. Part of that routine in many households is packing healthy school lunches. Packed lunches are a great way to get a little more control over what your child is eating at school.
If your child has dietary restrictions or food allergies, packing lunches is a must. Either way, packing a lunch allows you to include healthy foods your child will actually eat, and it doesn’t have to cost any more than what you would be paying for lunch at school. Plus, you know exactly what your kiddo is eating. Because let’s face it, school lunches probably have too many things you can’t pronounce.
Of course, packing a lunch every day doesn’t do any good if your child doesn’t eat it or ends up trading most of it away for junk food. The key is to find things that your child loves and enjoys eating. Here are some ways to get them eating a healthy school lunch!
Let them choose
The best place to start is to get your child involved. Depending on the age of your kids, you could even put them in charge of making their own lunches. Then you know that they’ll pick something they will eat, and being in charge of packing lunch will teach them responsibility.
Talk to your kids about what they want in their lunch box and make a list of options. Try to have everything you need for the first week of school; a trip to the store might be in order, and you should bring your kids! Getting the kids as involved as possible will make sure they’re excited with lunches they will eat. For older kids that may mean making their own lunches.
Get them to help
Younger children can help. Even your kindergartener can wash grapes and put them into a container, or pick a snack for a lunch box. Get in the habit of making lunches together the night before or even a few days ahead for things that will keep okay in the box. Over time you can give the kids more and more responsibility for their lunches. That alone will help make sure they eat what they’ve packed. After all, it’s the lunch they made! Along the way, you’re teaching them independence and essential life skills.
Learn to compromise
Of course, you want to encourage your kids to pack and eat healthy foods. We all know kids won’t always pick the best option when left to their own devices, so try some healthy snack upgrades now, before school starts, and use those as a compromise! Teach them to make good choices and get them to eat reasonably healthy, but understand they’ll probably nab a cookie or two from friends.
I would love to hear your comments below. Do your kids have go-to lunchbox favorite?