Give Your Kids the Edge: Healthy School Lunches

Don’t sacrifice your kiddo’s health for the sake of convenience. Instead, pack these nutrient-dense and easy lunches!

It’s hard to believe summer’s over and it’s already back-to-school season. For a lot of us, that means a return to busy mornings of getting the kids ready and out the door on time. And then there will be evenings of trying to ensure the homework gets done and bedtime happens at a decent hour. 

With all of that going on, no one has much time to devote to packing healthy lunches!

So of course it’s tempting to take the quick and easy route: just jam some Snackables, Gogurts, and a candy bar into a bag and call it done. But if you do that, you may be stealing your kids focus and energy for the day, not to mention their long-term health. 

Believe me, as a working mother of two boys, I understand the challenges of keeping things healthy. I know it can seem like preparing healthier lunches would take too much time and effort. But it doesn’t have to.

And I’m going to prove it by giving you some simple tips, so you don't have to sacrifice your kiddos’ health for the sake of convenience!

What If Your Kid Buys School Lunch? 

We all know that what gets offered at the school cafeteria is notoriously bad. So it’s best to pack lunch whenever possible. But if you have an older child who’s determined to buy, (I know my boys were as they got older) your best bet is to educate them. Remember, making healthy food choices starts at home! 

So teach your kids the importance of eating healthy proteins, carbs, and fats.  Give them examples of a good meal (salmon, asparagus, and a sweet potato, for example) and a bad meal (French fries, and a candy bar).

Describe to them the many ill effects of sugar as well as artificial sweeteners.  And teach them to read labels. Make them aware of how many chemicals are in most packaged food, and stress the importance of not consuming ingredients with names you don’t recognize and can’t pronounce. 

Then check in with them about what food options they encountered in the lunchroom and what choices they made. Without nagging or criticizing, congratulate them on their good decisions (“Great job on choosing an apple over that cookie!”) or suggest improvements in an encouraging way (“I know how hard it is to resist potato chips! You could try a handful of nuts instead—a lot of times that does the trick for me and leaves me feeling much better.”). 

Finally, Something Every Kid Should Hear

One of the biggest things making today’s kids obese and less healthy than they should be is overconsumption of sugar-filled drinks. And artificially sweetened drinks aren’t any safer. 

So whether you’re packing your kid’s lunches or trying to get them to make better purchasing decisions at school, you need to tell them this:

Skip the soda and drink plenty of water throughout the day!

Learning to do this from an early age will dramatically improve their odds for a lifetime of good health.

Keep thinking big and living bold!

-Dr. Kellyann