Lee este artículo en Español
A nervous parent's guide to starting your baby on solid foods
Listen to the podcast

How to Create a Healthy Lunch Box in 5 Steps

The long-awaited time has come back to school: summer and vacations are over and we welcome a new school year! We return to the routine: swimming lessons, homework after school and also the very boring school lunch boxes. There is no worse feeling for a mother/father than opening her little lunch box and seeing that she returned all the food from her lunch. School lunch is a critical time in a child's development as the child's brain depends on this energy to function.

That little lunchbox can make the difference in your child feeling more energized, satisfied, and willing to learn. The last thing you want is for him to feel tired or irritable.

Say goodbye to boring lunch boxes and hello to creative and healthy lunch boxes! Next we are going to teach you the art of creating a healthy lunch in 5 steps.

1. Essential Equipment

Lunchbox success depends on having the proper tools. Just as any artist has to have the necessary brushes and paints, you also have to have the right lunch box. I mean a lunch box with several compartments. This allows you to offer different food groups and add variety. Eliminate plastic bags and choose durable containers. Opt to pack either snacks or lunches in colorful and fun packaging. Better yet, let your child choose her favorite. Some good options are:

2. Include Three Food Groups

To ensure a healthy and balanced diet, consider including at least 3-4 different food groups: a fruit, a vegetable, grains/whole grain bread, protein and dairy. A good reference guide can be MyPlate, which teaches us to put fruits and vegetables, ¼ lean protein such as chicken, meat, eggs, peanut butter, and whole grains on half our plate. The more variety the better.

  • Protein Ideas: Turkey, Chicken, Beans, Nuts, Egg
  • Fruit ideas: strawberries, chopped apples, grapes
  • Whole Grain Ideas: Whole Grain Sandwich, Whole Grain Crackers, Brown Rice

3. Snacks

Who doesn't like to eat with their fingers? Children in particular like to play with food and eat with their fingers more. Also, schools don't offer as much lunch time, so we want to make sure the food is easy to eat. Avoid very complicated lunches and shakes, instead choose snacks that are easy to transport and take with your fingers. Ideas:

  • Fruit Kebabs
  • Cherry Tomatoes with cheese
  • Carrots with dressing
  • Berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

4. Fresh is Always Better

There is no doubt that it is easier to pack 100-calorie cookies, chips and snacks with packaging already included. However, this type of food does not replace and should not be the main component of the lunch box. As a guide, include only 1-2 packaged foods. I CLARIFY that foods such as yogurts and cheeses come in packages but are a good option; I am referring to more processed products with low nutritional value such as: boxed macaroni and cheese, chips, desserts, etc. In the lunch box you should include at least 50-70% fresh food (fruits, sandwiches, nuts, vegetables, cheeses with whole grain crackers, etc.)

5. Invite your Children to Prepare the Lunch Box

The more involved your children are in their meals, the more willing they will be to accept them. That is, if your child has never eaten celery in her life, don't expect her to eat it in the school lunch box. Use snacks and meals at home to experiment with new food combinations. That way, when you put it in his lunch box, it's already familiar and he can anticipate its taste.

I wish all Nutrichicos a very happy school year! Learn and study has been said!

Prep Time:
Cook time: