Many parents worry about the choices that their children make when they buy their lunch at school. Packing a healthy lunch for them is one way to ensure that they get all the vitamins and minerals that they need. A healthy lunch doesn't have to be tasteless; you have many options for creating a lunch that is just as flavorful as it is healthy.
Almost every child loves a sandwich, and most sandwiches hold up well in an insulated lunch box. Start with whole grain wheat or whole grain white bread, or a whole-grain tortilla to make a wrap. Then, add a healthy meat. Deli-style or roasted turkey, chicken or ham are all excellent choices because they are nutritious as well as flavorful. Load the sandwich with crisp lettuce, tomato, or any other vegetables that your child likes. Top the sandwich with mustard, creamy ranch dip or a zesty sauce. The options for making a sandwich are nearly endless, so mix it up from day to day.
Choosing a side is just as important as creating the sandwich. Crisp carrot and celery sticks add a crunchy texture contrast to a sandwich. Alternately, a light and fresh side salad topped with vegetables and their favorite salad dressing can add zip to the meal. Include a small container of creamy dressing or dip for the vegetables and the salad. In colder months, a hot soup is an ideal accompaniment to a sandwich because it is a savory, warming side. Select side items that complement the sandwich. For example, a turkey wrap pairs well with zesty black bean soup.
Every child loves sweets, but a sweet finish to the meal doesn't have to be unhealthy or full of sugar. Healthy yogurt or fresh fruit are welcome by most children as a fresh treat. Pair a fresh apple with a light yogurt sauce, or give them a bag of juicy grapes. Include a cookie once a week or on special occasions, but choose an oatmeal or raisin cookie that has some nutritional value beyond the sugar.
You have many options for a beverage to go with the meal. Milk is the sensible choice if you did not include cheese on the sandwich or salad. Alternately, most children enjoy a juice box. Choose their favorite juice such as apple or grape juice and select one that does not have a lot of added sugar. Some children enjoy pure water over other beverages and water is the best way to keep them hydrated throughout the day.
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