The Art of Building a Healthy Lunchbox
Updated: May 24
I'll share with you a new article that I wrote for a fabulous portal called, MotivaMamás. Motivamamás is a spanish-speaking social space aimed at mothers that aims to share experiences and writings to motivate mothers to move forward. The creator of Motivamamás is a Venezuelan named Maria Fernanda Barrios. Apart from sharing maternity and pregnancy topics, Motivamamás shares other topics aimed at respectful parenting and also includes topics on breastfeeding and infant nutrition. Nutrichicos will be collaborating with this fabulous social account, sharing infant feeding recommendations to help all moms improve their little ones' nutrition!
As we say at Nutrichicos: "Being a father is difficult, but feeding your child doesn't have to be"
The Art of Building a Healthy Lunchbox:
As a parent there is no greater frustration than your little ones returning school lunch. Between that they don't like what you put, they get bored of the same options or the food doesn't taste the same for lunchtime, they end up not eating anything. There is a perception that school lunch is less healthy than homemade. At least in the United States, the topic of lunch boxes has become very controversial. However, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics in 2015 found that lunches brought from home had fewer fruits and vegetables, more sodium, and fewer whole grains than school lunches. It even found that 90% of home-cooked lunches contained some form of dessert, sugary drinks, or chips, which are not allowed in school lunches in the US.
What does this study tell us? Just because your child brings lunch from home doesn't mean he's going to be healthier. The key lies in the quality of that school lunch box. To ensure that your child's lunch box is a success, we suggest the following recommendations:
Only include water as a drink- Avoid sugary drinks and juices. There is a direct relationship between the consumption of juices and sugary drinks and the risk of obesity in children. The best drink for children will always be water. If you are going to give juice limit it to 4-6oz a day.
Choose to include a fruit, a vegetable or both!- Fresh is always better! Ideally, it's best to include a fruit PLUS a vegetable. But at least one of the two you must include. Think vegetables with dips, dressings, or fruits that won't spoil like grapes or blueberries.
Think about giving snacks- Don't choose very complicated food. Try to put foods that are easy to eat and preferably cut. Like the cut apple, strawberries, melon and others. It is known that if the fruit is cut, more chances for children to consume it. Lunch time is limited so you don't want to give meals that take a long time.
Get creative and think beyond sandwiches- Consider giving whole-grain crackers, or different breads like pita bread or a whole-grain tortilla for more variety. Choose to include whole grains with more than 3g of fiber. Don't just take the color of the bread! Look for whole grains to be in the first 3 ingredients.
The packaging is just as important as the food- Remember that children eat with their eyes. If the food looks pretty they will be more willing to eat it. Forget the transparent bags and better opt for fun packaging. Think about using containers of different colors and shapes that include many compartments.