In about a month our kids will be starting back to school, yeah! To help with lunch packing I have compiled a list of the top lunch foods for kids.
Fruit taste good and is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and flavonoids, which function as antioxidants in your child’s body! Different colored fruits have different health benefits so include a variety, such as apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, oranges, pineapple and strawberries for your kids.
Note – Apples, grapes and strawberries are on the list of dirty dozen foods likely to have high pesticide residue levels, so try to buy organic to avoid exposing your kid to potentially harmful chemicals.
Vegetables provide vital nutrients that are important for your child’s health, including potassium, fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C. Find the ones your kids like to eat and add them to their lunches everyday. Remember to mix things up; carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, sweet potato fries and kale chips are popular choices.
Note – Carrots and cherry tomatoes are also on the list of dirty dozen foods likely to have high pesticide residue levels, so buy organic when ever possible.
Simple Kale Chip Recipe
- Wash, dry and trim kale leaves
- Toss with olive oil and sea salt
- Cook in oven for eight minutes or so at 350 degrees
Whole grains, in addition to fruits and vegetables, are an important source of fiber and other nutrients. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children age four to eight should eat 2 to 5 servings of whole grains a day and everyone age nine and up should consume 3 or more servings. Fill your child’s lunch with whole grain pasta or one of the blends that is part whole wheat and part white pasta. Also, try whole grain breads, for example whole grain pita bread.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a delicious source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. In addition, they contain protein and fiber, which along with unsaturated fat may help your child feel full longer. Include about a handful of nuts and seeds as a tasty treat for your kids lunch or mid-morning snack.
Make your own trail mix with ingredients including sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, almonds or walnuts as well as raisins, dried cranberries, mangoes, apricots or shredded coconut.
Not only is cheese high in calcium, which can help keep kids teeth and bones strong, it also is a good source of protein and contains some essential vitamins and minerals, such as phosphorus, zinc, vitamins D and E.
Some kid-friendly cheeses that provide the most nutritional value would be cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss, mozzarella and string cheese. If you what to watch your child’s fat intake stick to low fat or fat-free versions.
Please share any ideas you may have on good lunch foods for kids.