It's that time of year again - back to school time! This busy time of the year can be one of the hardest when it comes to getting the kids to eat nutritious foods. So here are a few tips to keep those kids eating healthy all school year long!
As you prepare your kids for the school year ahead, what to pack for lunch and snacks is a top priority. If your child is a fussy eater, finding good food options can be much more difficult.
You know your little one needs his or her daily nutrition, but how do you ensure that they don’t turn up their noses at healthy choices?
Preparing healthy meals for the morning and packing those lunch boxes in advance cuts down on last-minute hassles and poor food choices.
Here are are a few ways to ensure that your kids get healthy meals during the school year - and that they'll actually eat them!
Add Color to Their Breakfast
Kids eat better if they find their food visually appealing. They’ll be less likely to kick up a fuss over good-for-them foods and more likely to eat enthusiastically if there’s some color on the plate!
If you serve cereals, embellish them with fresh fruits. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are great additions to a healthy breakfast.
When berries are no longer in season, choose from are apples, pears, oranges and bananas, thinly sliced and served attractively.
Theses fruits are rich in antioxidants that will strengthen your child’s immunity, and fiber that’s so valuable to the digestive system.
Add a tiny amount of maple syrup or brown rice syrup to hot cereals if you need to sweeten them up.
You can also add some sliced or chopped nuts such as almonds, or seeds (such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds) to boost the protein content of hot or cold cereals.
Make Lunch Look Fun
Lunch can be a little tricky since you won’t be around to see that your child actually eats it! So you want to make sure it is super enticing.
First, get your child a new lunchbox of her or his choice. With a lunchbox that they choose themselves, they’re less likely to reject the food inside.
Try out these bento lunchboxes, which make food look really fun and appealing. They're fun to pack together and fun to eat too!
Kids are more likely eat their veggies and fruits when they’ve been cut into bite sized pieces, and even served with a dip (like this Vegan Nutella!)
As with the lunchbox, giving your child a few choices gives them some of the power of decision making. If your child tends to eat a lighter breakfast, pack a heartier lunch filled with foods that are wholesome and high in nutrient-dense calories.
For more packable lunch ideas, be sure to check out our Healthy Plant Based School Lunches book. It's packed with all my favorite school lunch recipes, tips, and tricks!
In the few hours between the end of the school day and dinnertime, your child is likely to be hungry. Very hungry.
So you'll want to have some light and nutritious snacks on hand. Fruits are my go-to here. Fresh fruits are always a great choice. But if you need a packaged option - organic fruit snacks and dried fruits are also tasty choices!
Don’t Forget the Beverage
While planning your child’s lunch and breakfast, don’t forget to consider their beverage too.
Water is a natural detoxifier; and there are a number of other clever ways to keep your child hydrated. We drink water constantly at our house!
The main thing to avoid is sugary drinks that do no one any good. It’s better to supply a bottle of water and fresh fruit than beverages filled with high fructose corn syrup.
For more helpful tips on feeding a vegan family, check out these resources:
- Healthy Plant Based School Lunches E-Book (our best resource!)
- Tips for Packing Vegan School Lunches for Kids
- Fun & Easy Bento Box Lunch Ideas
This article was contributed by Aradhana Pandey. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.