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5 Tips for Lunchbox Nutrition

August 10, 2012

With back-to-school season rolling in, it’s time to once again prepare lunch boxes for your kids’ daily meals. As a parent, it’s important to ensure solid nutrition in these meals, but there’s rarely enough time in the day to go all out. Here are 5 tips for ensuring healthy mid-day meals with minimal work.


1. Get colorful.

It’s easy to have 1 or 2 “go to” fruits or veggies as a side, but don’t be afraid to mix it up. Apples, bananas, berries, sliced melon, grapes, oranges, pears: the greater the variety, the better your child’s nutrition – and the more fun they’ll have seeing what’s inside each day.

2. Shape it up!

Second to food selection is getting your child to eat it. It’s amazing how far a fun shape can go. Give them a choice about their sandwiches (triangles or rectangles?), and slice vegetables into fun-shaped wedges or silly curves.

3. Cheat on PB&J.

Yes, it’s a good source of protein and a childhood favorite. But variety is essential to good nutrition. Rotate between PB&J, tuna salad, deli cheese/meat, and a pita stuffed with veggies and hummus or a mild fish like kipper snacks. And try different types of bread, while you’re at it. Lunch will stay exciting and healthy.


4. Cheat on sandwiches, too.

Yes, they’re good finger food, but there’s much more out there, and there are better ways to pack in the nutrition. Whip up a batch of cold salad (such as Grape, Walnut and Tuna Tortellini Salad) at the beginning of the week and pair daily servings with fresh fruit or veggies. Voila – you’ve got a meal!

5. Make school lunch a family affair.

All of these tips apply not to just kids, but to the whole family (well, except #2… maybe), both for the sake of your nutrition and for setting a good example. If you plan for multiple lunches, it’s easier to have the right stuff on hand. Leftovers are a great way to keep it simple at the whole-family level. Making Seafood Taco Salad for dinner? Prepare a double batch and you’ve got lunch covered.

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