A significant part of a child’s day is spent in the school. During this time, they need the energy to perform several activities in the classroom or playground. A child cannot remain hungry for so long, and at a growing age, proper nutrition and regular meals are of utmost importance.
To take care of a child’s dietary needs, parents usually pack lunch for them. Packing food for your kids is an important ritual that every mother prioritizes every morning before the kid leaves for school. But, there is always one significant concern that hovers in the mind of every mother – How can I pack a fulfilling, well-balanced, and healthy meal for my child? How can I ensure that my child gets all the essential nutrients?
Packing a good meal can sometimes become a very consuming task for many parents. Here are some essential tips and ideas to prepare and pack the perfect lunch for your kids.
BENEFITS OF PACKED LUNCH
Several schools offer prepared meals to the students in the school itself. While this meal is entirely safe, there are several benefits that a packed lunch provides over a school prepared meal. Here are some of the advantages of packing a healthy snack for your child:-
- Packed lunch is prepared with love.
- Packed lunch is made in a homely environment, which makes it more hygienic and healthy.
- A child gets a variety, and the parents are usually aware of their child’s likes and dislikes.
- For students suffering from allergies or having special dietary needs, it is better to make packed lunch.
- Children can also help the parents in the process of packing lunch. This will increase bonding, and kids will learn an essential skill in life.
TIPS TO PREPARE A SCRUMPTIOUS AND HEALTHY PACKED LUNCH
Here are a few tips and techniques that can be used for preparing a delicious and well-balanced meal for the kids that cater to their vitamin, minerals, and energy needs. A good meal keeps a child active and also helps in proper brain functioning.
1) FILL-YOU-UP FOODS
Chose food groups that provide energy for a long time and keeps the kids satiated during the day. Slow-release energy foods are the best option. You can use whole grain meals, including carbohydrates like bread, rolls, tortillas, or sandwiches! Other food options in this category include pasta, noodles, potatoes, couscous, lentils, chickpeas, gram, rice, or salads.
** Suggestions for a healthy salad for kids**
- Choose a “fill-you-up” base- Rice, Lentils, Pasta, Potato, Beans.
- Add some color- Celery, Cherry tomatoes, Carrots, Celery, Mushrooms, Capsicum, Sweet Corns.
- Add a little dressing- Low-fat Mayonnaise, Olive-oil, and fresh lemon.
2) HELP-YOU-GROW FOODS
This is another critical food category that must be included in the school packed lunches. Make sure that a small portion of protein-rich food is included in your kid’s lunch box. A small amount of meat, fish, or simply an egg can be sufficient. Make a sandwich or prepare a protein meal. Some suggestions are hard-boiled eggs, cold-cooked fish, unsalted peanuts, cheese, tofu, etc.
3) FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Fruits are an essential source of carbohydrates, sugar, and fiber. Vegetables and fruits should be an essential part of the daily meal. Pack some crunch in your child’s box. Cut down the pieces of their favorite fruit or make a fruit salad. Dry-fruits are also a healthy alternative for the students to munch on during recess. Fruits are usually sweet and delicious, that keeps the kids happy. Make a salad or keep veggie sticks with some hummus or other dip. Some berries are also a kid’s favorite snack.
4) TAKE A DRINK
Along with food, a drink is also essential. Make sure that you provide a handy water bottle to your kid so that they do remain thirsty. Water is the best choice for a drink. Low-fat milk can also be provided to pack extra energy. Diluted fruit juice or smoothies are also a healthy alternative for the kids. Make sure that you don’t give your kids unhealthy drinks like soda, coke, etc.
5) OCCASIONAL TREATS
To brighten up your kid’s day, why not pack their favorite snack with lunch. Such occasional treats can keep the kids happy. Small chocolate, cookie, cereal bar, scones, etc.
Packed lunch is a vital part of school life. For parents, the consideration of their child’s health is of supreme importance. Make sure that the lunch is appropriately cooled and contained to prevent any leakage or spillage. Kids require a healthy meal during their growth years. Therefore, a carefully packed lunch sufficient in all the essential nutrients is very important for the kids.