Pack your kindergartener's lunch to ensure he's getting a properly balanced meal--something you can't do if he's buying lunch at school. Pack a variety of healthy foods. Avoid sugary foods and junk food, such as chips. A well-balanced meal includes protein, whole grains, fruits, dairy products and vegetables. Keep in mind that certain lunchbox ideas serve double-duty--yogurt includes protein and dairy, for example.
Use 100 percent whole grain bread to create your child's sandwich for a lunch-time serving of whole grains. However, you don't have to rely on this old stand-by. Make lunches that include brown rice or whole grain pasta for a change. Insulated lunchboxes will help keep these types of lunches warm until lunch time. Give your child last night's leftovers for a quick, easy meal.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables give your child the essential nutrients she needs to make it through the day. Raw fruits can make an ideal dessert--place them in a special container so they don't get smashed in her bag. Such vegetables as frozen peas and corn also make a good addition. If you put them in frozen, they'll thaw by lunch time. Encourage your child to eat her fruits and veggies--include a dipping sauce, such as ranch dressing, yogurt mixed with honey or peanut butter.
Protein will help build your child's muscles and keep him full throughout the day. Make a sandwich that uses deli meats or peanut butter. Beans are another good source of protein and they don't have as much fat as animal protein. Pack a bean soup or chili for a vegetarian meal. Include chicken nuggets or mini-hamburgers--this works best in an insulated lunch box.
Dairy gives your child much-needed calcium, so include a serving of dairy. If you choose yogurt, avoid the sugary options. Choose a plain version and add fruits or honey to sweeten it. Cheese also makes a good source of dairy--include string cheese or cheese slices. Pack milk or soy milk as a drink. When including dairy products, use an insulated lunchbox that can keep these items cold, especially if your child eats later in the day.
Kindergarten classes often feature a snack time and require you to pack a snack in addition to the main lunch. If you have to do this, choose healthy snacks for your child. For example, send along whole grain crackers with cheese or peanut butter, a healthy muffin or a piece of fresh fruit.
- Photo Credit healthy foods image by Steve Lovegrove from Fotolia.com
Easy School Lunchbox Ideas You Can Make the Night Before
11 simple ideas for school lunches that hold up overnight. Each one is portable, kid-tested and healthy.