Aside from just getting your kids off to school in time every morning, there’s also the challenge of what to pack for your child’s lunch that day. After all, trying to add some variety to the mix can be difficult. However, kids can get burned out from the regular old PB&J or turkey sandwich.
Alexis Weilbaecher, one of our Ochsner Fitness Center dietitians, joined me on WWL-TV to offer 3 ideas for easy lunches that are well-balanced, nutrient-rich and offer a variety of flavors and textures.
1. Not Your Usual Brown Bag Lunch:
- Turkey on a whole grain wrap with tomatoes and fresh spinach leaves – provides whole grains, protein and veggies
- Soy crisps – they’re like a higher-protein version of mini rice cakes, and a good source of fiber and calcium
- Chobani Simply 100 – a flavored Greek yogurt that’s high in protein and lower in sugar than most flavored yogurts
2. Tapas To-Go:
- Sunbutter Pack (can also use peanut butter or almond butter packet) with apple slices
- String cheese – a good source of protein and calcium
- Hummus snack-pack with Beanitos – white bean and black bean chips; a good source of protein and fiber
- Crystal Light Pure packet for a water bottle – all-natural, no artificial sweeteners/colors, and low in sugar
3. Build Your Own “Lunchable”
- Whole grain crackers like BIG Wheat Thins or Triscuits, topped with a square of cheese and turkey pepperoni (or sliced turkey, chicken, ham, chicken sausage, any lean protein)
- High protein ranch dip (pint of plain Greek yogurt mixed with packet of Ranch dip mix) with veggies
- Fruitables fruit and veggie drink blend
It’s okay to pack a not-so-healthy treat with your child’s lunch – but try to keep the majority of options healthy, especially to keep your child fueled throughout the school day. Try to incorporate at least one of the following: source of protein, a whole grain, fruit and/or vegetable or source of calcium.
Also, to keep kids interested, get them involved in the planning process. Ask them to write out (with your help, if necessary) at least five lunch menus that they really like.