With schools FINALLY started for the little ones, I remembered how horrendous some lunchboxes can be!
My son is in pre-school, and when I see the stuff that his classmates bring to school, I get shocked. With a choice of chocolates, muffins, cheese sandwiches, and flavoured yoghurts, I wonder how these kids are expected to think and grow!
Kids don’t really have a choice in what they eat. You could explain to them all day long about good nutrition, but unless their parents at home are implementing it, then their knowledge is useless.
Your kids’ eating habits will be shaped by what you put for them in their lunchboxes, so start putting better stuff!
What’s good to put?
Lunch box options are plenty, so please don’t be limited to the usual, quick solutions. Here are some pointers:
- If you’re introducing a new item, give your kids time to get used to it. Repeat it until they start eating from it.
- Add variety. I’m sure many kids are tired of the old cheese sandwich and yoghurt, even if you think they like it. Trust me, variety makes them better eaters as they grow older.
- Show them their lunch box and let them help you fill it in the morning. It gives them more ownership and hence they’ll be more likely to eat it.
- Discuss any new items you put (preferably even try it at home first) and explain why you want it to be part of their school snack.
- Make a week’s menu for your lunchboxes and stick it on the fridge. This will save you having to think in the morning and will prevent you from making a bad choice because you’re tired.
- Adjust the portions according to the child’s age.
My Kids’ lunchboxes
I know that it’s hard for mothers to think of options and varieties for their kids’ lunchboxes. So I will save you having to think and invent. I will just give you what I’ve come up with over the past few years. You can then adjust it according to your kids’ likes and dislikes.
Sample week for us:
Sunday: Rye bread jam sandwich + Raisins + Almonds + Carrot sticks + a few slices of apple + natural juice/water
Monday: Boiled egg + black olives + sunflower seeds + grapes + natural juice/water
Tuesday: Hummus with rice cakes + organic dry breakfast cereal + carrot sticks + pomegranate + natural juice/water
Wednesday: Homemade zaatar bread + Small corn cob + cucumber sticks + raisins + slices of plum + natural juice/water
Thursday: Chickpeas or black eye peas + a few fresh dates + cucumber or carrot sticks + pear slices + natural juice/water
What I do
- I vary the fruits according to what’s in season and what’s in my fridge
- I have a ‘surprise’ item every once in a while, where I change one or two items. I even sometimes leave them little notes in their lunchboxes so they can smile when they open their lunchbox (usually the little note has a star or a heart or their name written in colours)
- I get their input on what’s working and what’s not
- I let them help pack the lunchbox and sometimes they can choose a lunchbox item when they’re with me in the supermarket
- Once in a while, I will pack a dessert if we have some in the house (it’s usually a home-made natural dessert such as date balls or almond brownies)
- There is no dairy products in their lunchbox. They instead get calcium-packed almonds, chickpeas, and other goodies. Why not dairy? Click here for my previous post on Dairy products.
If you want your kids to snack on healthy food as teenagers and adults, then YOU MUST START NOW! All you need to do is spend a few minutes thinking of options that your child might like or might be willing to try over time.
Get more info
There are a lot more options in my book I want Healthy kids. I’ve spent a lot of time writing the section about how you can improve your child’s diet at school. You’ll find a lot of ideas in it whether you are a parent, teacher, or school administrator. Get the book! And I’m not just saying that because it’s my book. Kids deserve the chance to have healthy lunch box options. You can find more information on the book here. Or you can order it directly from Amazonhere.
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