Children are in their growing phase of life in which they require proper nutrition to ensure healthy growth and holistic nourishment of the body. Students spend a significant time of their day in schools, and during this time their meal requirement is to be taken care of. Therefore, parents pack lunch for their kids. But packing a lunch can be a very time-consuming and thought-provoking business. Kids usually throw a lot of tantrums when food is involved. Trying to pack a lunch that is well-balanced and tasty can be a nerve-wracking business of the mothers.
Several schools offer meals to the students prepared in schools. While this food is FSSAI approved and id made to keep considering all the nutritional requirements of the students, many parents prefer packing a meal for their child. This is because the prepared school meals do not have a lot of variety, and they may sometimes not align with the special dietary needs of a child. So how can a perfect lunch be packed for the students? How can parents ensure that the children are getting all the vital nutrients to help them in their development? Here are a few tips and techniques that can help you in creating a perfect lunch box for your child daily:-
1) GET THE KIDS INVOLVED
Provide your kids with the options and make them chose the one which they wish to consume. Make sure that you provide them with healthy choices only. Taking your child for grocery shopping can also increase their involvement in the meal preparation process for school lunch. Assign an area of the kitchen as the “school lunch prep station” and provide the necessary tools and to the children in that particular space. This way, the kids will feel more interested in participating and contributing to the meal preparation procedure for packing a healthy school lunch.
2) ENCOURAGE HYDRATION
Every doctor recommends drinking plenty of water in a day. Students should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water daily and even more on a hot summer day. Drinking water keeps the body hydrated and free from toxins. It helps in cleansing our system. Get your child a colorful water bottle with a picture of their favorite superhero or character. Encourage them to complete the entire bottle twice during school time. Present it as a challenge as they will more be inclined towards drinking the water then. You can also add some flavor to the water as plain water can be too dull for the children.
3) INCORPORATE ALL THE FOOD GROUPS
A balanced meal is one that is sufficient in all the essential vitamins and minerals required by the body. There are several ways in which you can ensure that your child is getting all the vital nutrients in the body:-
- Fruits- You can pack fresh, frozen, or dried fruits for the kids. Keep a banana or a peeled orange for your kid to enjoy.
- Vegetables- Salads, chips, or veggie sticks with a hummus dip can be a healthy and tasty option for the kids.
- Lean Proteins- Chicken, boiled eggs, cold fish, baked or deli meat, lentils, beans, or nuts are some of the many options in this category. Just keep in consideration your child’s allergies.
- Low Fat Dairy- Tofu, cottage cheese, cheese, low-fat milk, etc. are an excellent addition to the school lunches.
- Whole Grains- These are slow-release foods that can keep a person full for a longer time. Bread, pasta, sandwiches, tortillas are some of the many options.
4) MAKE YOUR OWN SNACKS AND LIMIT PROCESSED ONES
Processed snacks that are available in the stores are unhealthy and contains large amounts of sugars, saturated fats, sodium, and preservatives. Make healthy snacks for your kids yourself. Use healthier alternatives like oats, honey, etc. You can make no-bake cookies, flavored yogurt, or energy bars for your kids.
5) TURN HEALTHY FOODS INTO FUN
Kids love when the food is colorful and innovatively presented to them. Come up with new ideas to make the food more impressive looking. Cut Interesting shapes and make colorful presentations. You can also encourage the kids to contribute to the food decoration process. Use kid-friendly cookie cutters and create a lunch theme that appeals to your younger one.