SAN ANTONIO – Whether your kids continue to learn at home, are back in the classroom, or on a hybrid schedule, chances are you’ll be spending some time making lunches. But it doesn’t always have to be a chore.
Here are some strategies for making lunches easy, fun and nutritious.
Plan lunches ahead of time
According to CNN, one pediatric dietitian says during this time of uncertainty, planning meals can help establish a sense of normalcy for kids. By preparing lunch as if you would pack it for school, it will also help prevent children from mindless eating and wandering into the kitchen.
Keep it simple
Target four items in a lunch: a protein, a fruit or vegetable, whole grains, and a dairy food, such as cheese, yogurt, or milk. For something quick and easy, consider making lunch foods in advance and freeze them. Some ideas include homemade burritos, grilled sandwiches, soups and stews.
Involve kids in lunch preparation
Making lunch at home is a great way to teach kids about different foods. Children are more likely to eat nutritious meals if they play a role in creating them.
When planning, allow your kids to suggest ideas and shop for foods, even if you are purchasing the foods online. Parents can also try to make the foods fun by making food faces and using cookie or sandwich cutters in the shapes of animals, sports items, even butterflies, hearts and stars. Health experts also say colorful fruit kabobs like tomato and cheese kabobs can reinforce pattern making.
For parents who have spare time, try writing your children fun notes. For example, using themed lunches for different days of the week, like “Monday Munch Lunch” help to make it fun. When lunch is fun, kids look forward to it.