It’s hard to get kids to eat something they may not be used to. Even more, getting them to eat something healthy can feel impossible. The key to packing a balanced lunch they’ll want to eat is including a variety of food groups and switching it up daily.
Lunches should ideally include a fruit, vegetable, some protein and one or two servings of whole grains. When you’re picking a protein, choose a lean option like beans, nuts, seeds, turkey, chicken or tuna. Also, keep portions small—about the size of your child’s fist. This helps make sure they don’t overeat and become tired for class but it’s enough to give them energy for the day. For drinks, avoid sugary sodas and ‘juice drinks;’ instead pack water, 100% fruit juice or 1% or fat-free milk.
Here are some fun, nutritional lunch ideas to pack:
- Fill pita bread with their favorite filling, like peanut butter.
- Pack zucchini, broccoli and cherry tomatoes and ranch dressing as a dip.
- Put turkey, swiss cheese, spinach and cranberry relish inside a colorful wrap.
- Spread peanut butter and banana slices over a cinnamon raisin bagel.
- Mix low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, high-fiber cereal and trail mix.
- Pack cubed fruits and fruit-flavored yogurt for a dip.
- Swap potato chips for dried fruit chips, pretzels or popcorn.
Good nutrition is important because it ensures your child gets everything they need to feel energized and grow up strong. In addition to packing healthy meals, it’s recommended that you take your child to the doctor to make sure they’re growing up properly, even when they’re not sick. These well-child visits are completely covered under the Service Benefit Plan when visiting a Preferred provider. If you need help finding a provider, use our Find a Preferred Provider tool.