Obesity has legitimately become an epidemic plaguing our country. However, this disease isn't limiting itself to just the adult population. In fact, 13.7 million children in the U.S. are either overweight or obese.
We already know the cause. There's simply too much high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sugar foods available to us at any given time. Additionally, these same foods are the convenient choices parents and school systems alike lean on for efficiency.
The question that begs to be answered, therefore, is what can we do about it?
However, the answer is simpler than you might think. We need healthy school lunch ideas! You may not be able to control what's on the menu at your child's school, but you can decide whether or not they eat it.
Packing your child's lunch may be one of the healthiest decisions you can make for them. Pizza, nachos, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs are the staples of most school cafeterias. All of those foods have one thing in common - they're high in calories and low in nutrition.
Check out some of our top ideas for a healthier option!
Healthy School Lunch Ideas
It can be hard to please you kid with food, especially if you've already allowed some bad habits to form. Even as adults, many people are completely closed off to trying new foods, especially where vegetables or non-traditional options are concerned.
However, if you begin broadening your child's pallet early on, they'll be much more receptive to trying new, healthier options. If you're a bit late in the game, you may just need to put your foot down. Your kids shouldn't survive off of chicken strips and french fries!
You could also reach out to The Lunch Mob, who work with schools and parents to provide healthy and tasty options for kids!
Otherwise, take a look at some options.
1. Pesto Pasta
To make this dish mega-healthy, use a whole grain pasta. For extra protein, look for lentil pasta. Then, you can add pesto, cherry tomatoes, and whatever else your kids enjoy.
For extra control, home-make your pesto to ensure you're not getting a bunch of extra sugar!
2. Chicken and Avocado Wraps
Another great among healthy school lunch ideas is the chicken and avocado wrap. All you need is grilled chicken breast strips, sliced avocado, and whatever toppings you kids like. Cheese is okay but remember - a little goes a long way.
For extra healthiness, use a whole-wheat or spinach tortilla!
3. Almond Butter Apples
As much as some people push the topic, peanut butter really isn't that healthy for anyone. However, almond butter, on the other hand, is healthy.
For a delicious meal full of healthy fat, natural sugars, and protein, apple slices with almond butter make a great, easy-to-digest lunch!
4. Fruit and Veggie Kabobs
Even for kids who appreciate veggies, they're not a lot of fun to eat. However, if you make kabobs out of them, they'll be much more enjoyable!
Make sure you're giving your kids more than just fruit and veggies, however, or they won't get enough calories to fuel them for the day. Adding a half sandwich with almond butter and jelly will do the trick!
5. Homemade Veggie Rolls
Another delicious option for healthy school lunch ideas comes in the form of pinwheels! All you need is your kids favorite veggies, a whole wheat wrap, and some pesto.
Make a hardy veggie wrap and slice it up into pinwheels! Add slices of chicken breast for extra protein!
6. Almond Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Peanut butter in jelly is a favorite for kids and adults alike. However, as we previously discussed, peanut butter isn't the healthiest option.
Using whole wheat bread, make almond butter and jelly sandwiches for your kiddos. Make sure to pack some carrot and celery sticks too!
7. Greek Yogurt, Fruit, and Fresh Veggies
Finally, one of the most overlooked and simple healthy school lunch ideas is greek yogurt. It provides plenty of protein, healthy fat, and probiotics. To make it more delicious, you can add freshly sliced strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries for your child to add at lunch!
They'll need a little more sustenance though so feel free to add some fresh veggies on the side!
You know your kids and what they like. When you're thinking about the different healthy school lunch ideas, keep their little tastebuds in mind! However, don't be afraid to branch out and get creative!
They'll never know what new tastes and flavors are out there if you don't introduce them!
And remember, for more fun and informative articles, check out the rest of our blog!