When it’s time to pack your child’s school lunch, think about this: What you decide to include on their lunch menu can make or break their learning potential. Offering up tasty and nourishing meals to your children especially this meal will keep them fueled and attentive for the classroom and after-school activities.
These are some common mistakes parents frequently do:
• Preparing the same foods over and over. Offering a large variety of foods will serve two purposes: meeting your children’s nutritional needs and expanding their food knowledge and experience.
• Offering adult size portions. Many parents are not familiar with child’s portions. Packing gigantic portions to your kids may discourage them to eat. For small children, portions are usually 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup and for mid-size kids, portions are 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup.
• Serving unbalanced meals. For your little one’s meals, incorporate whole grains (rye bread, corn tortillas), vegetables and/or fruits (spinach, broccoli, berries, apples), lean-protein foods (turkey, eggs, beans) as well as low-fat dairy products (1% milk or low-fat yogurt)
• Relying on fast food on a weekly basis. The problem here is that these foods may fall short on vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. Of course, kids can enjoy some French fries or a hamburger, but make them an occasional treat (no more than three times a month), not a regular meal.
• Packing mostly processed foods. Potato chips, candies and donuts are empty-calorie foods notoriously high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats, but low in calcium, A, B, and C vitamins, and iron. All these nutrients are essential for both learning and higher energy levels.