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10 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

Por Carola Sixto -

Children have 180 school days a year, on average. This means 50% of the days they have lunch at school. If we also note that fast foods are common during weekends, lunch boxes become a golden opportunity to provide children with balanced meals that include the nutrients they need to grow!

But usually most parents prepare meals based mainly on carbohydrates and fats, because they’re sure their children will eat them. The problem is that this doesn’t lead children to try new, nutritious meals.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a nutritious lunch should include: grains (bread or tortillas), fruits and vegetables, protein, and calcium sources.

Here are 10 nutritious ideas for your kids’ lunch:

1. Starter + tuna sandwich: In a container, place some carrots, cut into sticks. Separately, prepare a cream cheese sauce with a few drops of soy sauce. Add a sandwich made with whole-wheat bread, tuna, and avocado.
2. Starter + cheese bagel: Prepare a plastic container with diced cheese, apples, and nuts. Pack a bagel with cheese, tomato, and basil. Instead of regular mayonnaise, use a light version or a low fat cheese spread.
3. Tuna salad + apple: In a plastic container, prepare a delicious tuna salad with pickles. As a dessert, pack some diced apple and some peanut butter to dip.
4. Soup + noodles: For cooler days, prepare a thermos of chicken or vegetable soup. Separately, prepare another one with noodles and red sauce.
5. Meat sandwich + yogurt with fruit: Prepare a sandwich with some slices of meat spread with mustard. Separately, pack some vanilla yogurt with fruit chunks (raspberry, red fruits, apple, or pear). To keep it cool, prepare it a night before and put it in the freezer.
6. Chicken with rice + fruit: Another option that can be eaten hot or cold is chicken with rice. To make it more nutritious, add beans and some vegetables. For dessert, you can include an apple or banana.
7. Noodle salad + yogurt: Make a colorful salad with vegetable noodles and vegetables (spinach, carrots, and squash), fat-free cheese, carrots, and olives. These noodles have vitamins A, B1, and B2, which make them a better alternative. For dessert, include a low-fat yogurt. 
8. Chicken bites + corn salad: If you have any chicken leftovers, cut them into chunks and freeze them. Chicken is a good source of phosphorus and protein. Pack some chicken bites together with a corn salad with shredded carrots and an egg.
9. Chicken and vegetable tacos + oatmeal cookies: If your children like Mexican food, surprise them with a couple of soft (not crunchy) tacos, baked with skinless chicken, peppers, and vegetables. Separately, include a container with nonfat cheese. For dessert, nothing better and more nourishing than some crunchy oatmeal cookies. 
10. Vegetarian pizza + fruit smoothie: If your child has the option of heating food in school, prepare an individual thin-crust (whole-grain, if possible) pizza with nonfat cheese, mushrooms, and peppers. Prepare a smoothie with low fat milk and fruit. You can use banana, strawberries, kiwi, or blueberries, among others. However, try not to add sugar. 

The key to success in preparing a lunch box is not only choosing the right food, but also presenting them accordingly. Dedicate a few extra minutes to cut fruit and vegetables into fun shapes, and pack them in separate containers. Your children will smile every time they open their lunch box.

Source: “Mother´s Guide to Raising Healthy Children”, Sue Frederick


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