tips and tricks for packing healthy lunches for school

ROANOKE, Va. – School is in full swing which means, for parents, it’s time to pack the dreaded school lunches everyday.

“It’s really hard to pack and plan and know to put in the lunchbox the thing you know your kid is going to eat,” said Heather Quintana, a certified health coach. “I think a lot of times parents are nervous that their kid is going to go hungry so they want to pack things they know their kids will want to eat plus it takes effort and planning. It’s simple to pack healthy and nutritious food, but it’s not easy.”

The best thing parents can do to get your child interested in healthy eating is to get them involved in the packing process.

“The key take away to packing nutritious, healthy lunches for your kids is to get them involved in the packing and planning process,” said Quintana. “The more they’re involved in what they choose to eat, and what they have packed in front of them, the more likely they are to eat it.”

Quintana suggests making a chart with proteins, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains and work with your kids to put the food they like from the chart in their own lunchbox. The process makes it interactive, and kids are more likely to eat food they pick themselves. 

The packing process doesn’t have to stop after elementary school.

“Things parents can do to have the right food for their kids so that their kids are happy to put it together, and in their own lunch boxes at any age,” said Quintana. “Kindergarten all the way through high school, your kids can be empowered to choose the things that are really good for their bodies.”

Quintana says another great option is leftovers. If a healthy meal is made for dinner that your kids enjoy, use a thermostat or durable containers that can keep food hot or cold and let your child enjoy it for lunch the next day.