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You may be able to plan your lunches fairly easily. You have a wide range of foods you can and will eat, and you may be willing to try new things. The trick is when it comes to planning your child’s lunch. It becomes especially tricky if your child has food allergies, is picky, or has to be on specific diets that are different from yours. If this sounds like your situation, and you are about to give up on creating a menu plan for your children, here are 3 tips for planning healthy kids’ lunches.
Start Simple when planning healthy kid lunches
You don’t want to make your kids lunches complicated. You also don’t want to go gourmet on them. Try to stick to something simple for their lunch that can easily be repeated over the course of the week with some minor changes. For example, start with flavored greek yogurt and fruit. This gives them something sweet, but also gets fruit into their system. It also gives them active cultures and probiotics from the yogurt to help with digestion. Add a protein to the mix and you have something filling that can get them through their lunch. Consider a plain yogurt that you can add your own sweetener and fruit to so you can control the sugar content. There are non-dairy yogurts available for those with dairy problems.
Make Minor Changes, but include healthy options
You may be wondering how you will get the right nutrients into the lunch without putting in food your child will not eat. Consider making minor changes that you notice, but your kid won’t. For example, if you go with peanut butter switch to a nutrient enhanced or fortified nut butter. Instead of regular yogurt, go with a greek yogurt to boost their protein intake and B-vitamin intake. Instead of regular juice, that can contain a high amount of sugar, go with an organic fruit smoothie. If milk is the drink of the day, consider a nut based organic milk instead.
Record Likes and Dislikes
The most important thing to planning healthy lunches for your children is to record what works and what does not. A great way to do this is to write down lunches and keep each lunch plan on file in an app or on index cards. They like it, then keep it. If they don’t like certain aspects, then note that and make changes. If they hate the meal, then toss out the card and do not repeat it. This will help you with meal planning in the future and help you stick to what your kids like. It will also help you narrow down allergies or figure out what your kids may eat if you need to make healthy changes and adjustments. Get your child involved with making their lunches. They are much more likely to eat what they put in their lunch, if they get a few choices.
These tips will increase the chances of making a meal plan that will work for your kid’s lunches. Once you know what works, you can switch it up to reduce your food bills and your stress.Planning healthy kids lunches doesn’t have to break the bank or add stress to your life.
Here is an additional post on meal planning and prep that may be helpful for overall meal planning.
How will you get your kids involved in planning and packing their lunches this school year?
Be sure to check my free resource library for planning sheets to help you with all of your meals.