Tips for healthy, kid-friendly lunches

School is back in session and deciding what to pack for lunch can be challenging. Your days seem shorter and more hectic, how are you ever going to find time to pack a healthy lunch for your kids? Well we have some ideas to hopefully make your job a little bit easier.

A sandwich is always a great healthy option that doesn’t need to be made fresh-to-eat. Here are some ideas for a tasty lunch sandwich:

  • Bread: whole-grain bread, such as oat, wheat or multi-grain
  • Cold cuts: low-fat meat, such as turkey, and low-fat cheese
  • Condiment: light mayo or mustard
  • Drink: low-fat milk, water or 100 percent juice

A sandwich is great, but your child won’t want that every day. Here are some other healthy, and yummy, lunch options:

  • Crackers with low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter and jelly
  • Hummus with vegetables
  • Tuna fish
  • Left-over pasta
  • Grilled chicken salad

And of course, you’ll need a snack. What kid doesn’t want one? How about these ideas?

  • Vegetables and dip
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Apple sauce
  • Trail mix
  • Low-fat popcorn
  • Fruit
  • Pretzels
  • Low-fat string cheese

If your kid eats a school lunch, we suggest checking out the lunch menu to ensure they are getting the nutrition they need. Also, encourage your kids to make the right choice when they have one at school. That includes choosing whole-grain bread over white and apples over chips. I know easier said than done, right? Consistent education and communication with your child can make this challenging task easier than you think.

If you need to save time in the morning make lunch the night before and have the kids help you. You can do this before you put them to bed; make it a fun family time and talk about healthy-lunch options. Or you can take some food from dinner and set it aside for lunch as you prepare or serve dinner. This will not only cut down dinner intake and leftovers, but will also help ensure you have healthy meal packed and ready to go.