Helpful tips on preparing quick, healthy school lunches

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU)- Research shows that when kids eat healthy, well-balanced lunches every day, they perform better in school.

But lunches shouldn’t have to take parents a long time to make, and they definitely shouldn’t break the bank.

Chef April Howell from Martin’s School of Cooking stresses the importance of getting the kids involved in choosing their meals.

Making a list each week with healthy options they can choose from allows the kids to plan out their own meals. And once they select all of their lunches from the list, take them with you to the grocery store to pick out the ingredients.

Chef Howell also suggests having the kids make the lunches with you.

And you don’t have to stick to the basic sandwich. You can pair up fun things like fruit with chicken salad, some colorful vegetables like peppers, and a few pieces of chocolate to top off the lunch.

Another great idea is to pack some leftovers from dinner in your child’s lunch bag. If you heat up the food before school and put it inside a thermos, the food should stay warm for several hours, allowing your child to eat a hot meal for lunch.

“It’s really easy to throw it together in five, ten minutes and it’s not just going to be a bag of chips or a whole package of cookies,” said Chef Howell. “Having yourself prepared for the week ahead of time is going to have you less stressed in the morning and feel good about what you’re going to give your kids for that lunch.”