Do you believe school starts in just over a few weeks? I’ve had so much fun with my girls this summer and I’m always a little sad to send them back to school come September. But each year it gets a little easier seeing them grow and turn into little ladies!
One thing I’ve been sure to teach both my girls growing up is the importance of nutrition. I always think that I’m so lucky my girls eat everything. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. But I think that this is because they’ve grown up eating this way. From the time they could eat solid foods, I started feeding them veggies, fruits, dairy, meats, and whole grains.
I’ve heard so many parents complain to me about their kids being picky eaters. So if you’ve got a little one coming, my best advice is to start them young! Start making sure that they’re exposed to all the food groups as soon as possible.
But for those of you with the picky eaters, don’t worry there’s still hope! Usually the complaint is that their kids won’t eat fruits and vegetables. Here are some steps to conquer this with your kids’ lunches.
Let’s start with slowly incorporating veggies into their lunch. A great way to do this is to add in more veggies to their sandwiches or wraps. Swap out mayo in a sandwich for hummus. .Hummus is made from chickpeas which is packed with plant-based protein. It’s an easy and delicious switch that your kids will barely notice. Other veggies to include in sandwiches can be spinach, lettuce, cucumbers (they provide a great crunch!), and peppers. Once your kids start getting used to this, I recommend adding in some fresh kid-friendly vegetables like carrots and celery with a dip of some kind as a snack.
Fruit tends to be a little bit easier. They’re naturally sweet so if your kid has a sweet tooth, this is a great way to curb that craving! If they don’t like to eat fruit by itself try pairing it with other food groups. If they love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, swap out the jelly for crushed fresh berries! Another recommendation I make here is to swap out traditional white bread for a whole grain bread. This is loaded with nutrients and will help your kids stay fuller longer. Some fresh berries with yogurt and granola is also a great way for you kids to get in a fruit serving. My girls love this combo. Bonus: if you use Greek Yogurt, this gets your kiddos more than double the protein of traditional yogurt.
When it comes to packing kids lunches, you may be tempted to pick up some pre-packaged meals. But buyer beware–these tend to have a lot of added sugars and lack the nutrients your kids need. I always recommend making your own lunches for your kids. Doing this ensures you know what your kid is really eating. Just remember- always go back to the main food groups: fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, and meat! Happy Back to School!