Are your kids tired of eating PB&J every day? Do you dread packing lunches? Packing lunch does not have to be a chore. You and your kids can follow these simple steps to pack a quick, healthy lunch!
TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY
- Choose whole-grains. This doesn’t have to be bread. Try something new by packing quinoa, brown rice or whole-grain pita pockets instead.
- Protein doesn’t have to mean meat. Beans, hummus, and nuts are all great sources of protein
- Stay away from cold-cuts. These are sneaky sources of sodium. Choose grilled chicken, egg whites, or lean pork instead.
- Opt for low-fat dairy products.
- Mix it up with different fruit preparations. Fruit leathers and fruit sauces are both great alternatives to fresh fruit. Be sure that they are low in added sugar.
- Pack a veggie dip. Make vegetables more fun and tasty for your kids by providing a veggie dip. For a protein-packed dip, try hummus and veggie sticks.
- Avoid added sugars, trans-fats, and saturated fats in snacks. Instead of cookies and chips, keep your kids full with popcorn without the butter, fruit chips or string cheese.
- Make lunch fun. Instead of packing a regular sandwich, place the sandwich components on a stick to make a kabob.
TIPS FOR SAVING TIME
- Organize by portion sizes. Sort out your fruits and veggies for the week by putting daily portions into plastic bags, or freeze single-servings of soup for quick reheating in the morning.
- Lunch bin in the pantry. No more searching for granola bars all over the pantry as you pack lunch. Keep your snacks, juice boxes, and fruit cups all together in a bin to make a quick grab-and-go lunch.
- Bento box style. You won’t forget about a food group by using these lunch boxes. Use one compartment for fruit, one for veggies, and one for protein, grains, and dairy.
- Pack ahead. Make lunches the night before, or even several days in advance. This can be a big time saver in the morning!
RECIPES – Click on each dish for the recipe
Bertilia Trieu and Tisa Hill, Cornell University