Do you want to fuel your child’s growth and development? Provide a nutrient-rich lunch to give her exactly what she needs to learn and grow! Keep reading for some nutritional guidelines, suggestions, and fun lunch ideas that will make your kiddo happy AND healthy!
STUCK in a lunch-packing rut?
Check out these creative lunch menu ideas below from 'Modern Honey'!
Turkey and cheddar roll-up, fresh berries, yogurt, and trail mix
Hummus, pita bread, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced oranges
Cheese quesadilla, guacamole, salsa, tortilla chips, strawberries
Deli meat and cheese kabobs, red pepper slices, apples, fruit leather or snacks
Hard boiled eggs, baby carrots, pretzels, peaches or applesauce
Pasta salad, yogurt, granola bar, and raspberries
Make it FUN! Involve your kiddo in the lunch-packing process!
Want to encourage your child to try different foods? Ask her to help you pack her lunch! Give her healthy choices and allow her to be a part of the process!
Did you know....
Children ages 2 to 3 should consume about:
2 – 4 ounces of protein per day
1 – 1.5 cups of fruit per day
1 – 1.5 cups of vegetables per day
3 – 5 ounces of grains per day
2 cups of dairy per day
Children ages 4 to 8 should consume about:
3 – 5 ounces of protein per day
1 – 1.5 cups of fruits per day
1.5 – 2.5 cups of vegetables per day
4 – 6 ounces of grains per day
2.5 cups of dairy per day
Consider packing nutrient-dense foods such as proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy. For protein, consider packing a lean meat, eggs, beans, peas, or unsalted nuts and seeds.
Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries and blackberries contain high levels of antioxidants and are considered good foods for the brain. Berries’ seeds are also a rich source of omega-3 fats. Apples contain pectin which is a dietary fiber and can also stimulate good bacteria to live in your child’s stomach and therefore, fight against any bad bacteria which may try to live there. Bananas, oranges, peaches, pineapples, pears, and avocado are also good options to include in your child’s lunch.
It is important to include vegetables in your child’s diet as much as possible. Spinach is rich in antioxidants and carrots are packed with vitamin A. Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K and C and contains folate, manganese and potassium. Garlic, brussels sprouts, kale, green peas, swiss chard, ginger, asparagus, red cabbage, sweet potatoes, and collard greens are also great choices for lunch.
When including grains, choose whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, quinoa, brown or wild rice. In terms of dairy, low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese or dairy alternative beverages are great options! Try to avoid foods with added sugar such as brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, or honey. You also want to avoid saturated and trans fats.
Is your kiddo working on different eating skills and goals?
Consider these tips below from our Rise SLP, Reagan! ***Your child’s speech-language pathologist should be the one to implement any feeding goals and therapeutic feeding
Depending on your child’s goals and feeding needs, there are foods that can help target different feeding skills.
To work on biting on molars: pretzel sticks, veggie sticks, apples cut into sticks
To give input for calming: bagels, pizza crust, beef jerky, gum
To alert the oral cavity: trail mix (include foods that vary in texture and taste; salty, sweet, sour, chewy, crunchy)
Parents- do you have any lunch items or strategies that you swear by! Share them with us in the comments below!
Have fun and happy eating!