School Lunch: Health School Lunch Options
School lunches have traditionally bee
n things like sandwiches and chips, but with recent information about just how overweight young children are, you may be looking for a way to improve the quality of your child’s school lunch. If you haven’t done so, take the time to look at what is offered in your school’s hot lunch program, if it offers one. These lunches, too, may be not very healthy for your child. They may have many calories, greasy foods and less than nutritious meals. What can you do? Learn to pack a health school lunch instead.
Cost Is Not The Problem
As soon as you start to see the options you can have for your child’s health school lunch you will also notice that the foods are not expensive, prepackaged foods. Healthy foods are the most natural of foods. They are nutrient rich because they are naturally grown and not processed. For anyone who is looking for a way to cut the cost of school lunches, switching to a healthier bagged lunch is a good place to start. Your child’s lunch can be packed with flavor, be something they enjoy and still be healthy and within your budget.
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Taking the time to pack a healthy school lunch for your child starts by going back to your own school education. For most parents, the food pyramid will come to mind (though this chart has changed considerably over the last few year.) The goal is to provide your child with food from at least several of the major food groups so that they gain the nutrition they need. Choosing foods from several food groups encourages healthy balanced eating and provides them with the ability to stay active, healthy and even sharp throughout the school day.
Whole grains should be the stable in your child’s diet since processed white breads can actually be causing them weight problems. Whole grains are available in any form as long as they say “whole” grain on the packaging. A good option here is to use whole grain breads for any sandwiches you make for the child. You can also give them foods beyond the sandwich such as purchasing whole grain tortillas and pitas for use in making their lunch.
Putting fruits into your child’s lunch is a good way to give them nutrition while still giving them something that is sweet. Virtually any type of fruit can work well in your child’s diet. You may even want to try some new options to get their taste buds learning something new. Good options include blueberries, grapes, kiwi, apples, organs, mangoes, prunes, raisins, strawberries, plums and nectarines. Give them a container with halves in them or give them dried fruit. Both options are a good way to get nutrients into your child.
Vegetables contains most of the antioxidants your child needs to continue on a healthy lifestyle. Make sure that their lunch contains vegetables of all types including items like carrots, bell pepper slices, broccoli, lettuce (a homemade salad can incorporate many of these ingredients) beets, mushrooms, and cucumbers.
In The Bread
To make a sandwich, tortilla or pita using your whole grain bread, add a variety of fillings that they enjoy. Good options include chicken or chicken salad, egg salad, mashed banana, peanut butter, cream cheese, hummus, jams, smoked salmon and avocado. Be as unique as you like. You do not have to include sodium filled lunch meats if you do not wish to.
Having something tasty in their lunch will also help them to enjoy it. Include things like apple crisps, trail mix, yogurt, popcorn, fruit bars, dried fruits, baked chips with salsa or homemade cookies.
School lunches may seem boring and dull, but making them healthy can also give your child more options. If they have not tried some of these foods in the past, now is the perfect time to help them. Before school starts, start preparing these types of healthy choices for your child for lunch. You may find that they are very interested in some and have developed new tastes. They are sure not to miss that greasy pizza when they have something tasty to eat in their healthy school lunch.