Healthy Back-to-School Lunch Ideas from Kyocera
The end of the Labor Day weekend signifies an important time for parents everywhere: sending the children back to school. For parents, that also means:
- Back to driving to and from school.
- Back to helping with homework.
- Back to parent-teacher conferences.
- Back to packing daily lunches.
With the added commotion of the school year, it’s tempting to prepare a lunch with prepackaged, processed foods or to hand kids a few dollars to buy lunch. But are those the healthiest eating habits you could teach your children?
Today, childhood obesity is the primary health concern among American parents, as one in three of their children and teens is overweight or obese. These elevated weights are causing unprecedented health problems in young people, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, not to mention depression and low self-esteem. Extra weight in childhood has also been linked to earlier, higher death rates in adulthood. Parents can help prevent this disturbing trend! In addition to encouraging physical activity, an easy way to combat childhood obesity is by providing a healthy diet.
As a parent packing your kids’ lunches, you have direct control over what they eat five days a week, so choose wisely. For starters, choose a fun and colorful lunchbox with reusable containers. Then fill that lunchbox with fresh and healthy food options. Thinking outside the traditional sandwich will pique children’s interest and keep them from bringing home half-eaten lunches. Don’t forget to pack hot meals now and then. And if a traditional sandwich is on the menu, think about using your Kyocera paring knife to cut off the crusts or to cut the sandwich into small triangles or fun shapes, like a fish for a tuna sandwich.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Fresh fruit salad
- Vegetable sticks or florets with low-fat Ranch dressing
- Cottage cheese
- Whole grain tortilla chips with salsa or hummus
- Homemade trail mix
- Rice cake with peanut butter
- Greek yogurt
- Celery stick with peanut butter
- Hard-boiled egg
- Low-salt chicken noodle soup
- Whole-grain crackers with assorted cheeses, lunch meats, or tuna
- Mixed greens salad with low-fat dressing
- Pasta with beef and vegetables
- Ham sandwich with reduced-fat cheese on whole-grain bread
- Pita filled with vegetables and turkey or chicken
- Meatloaf sandwich
- Chicken chili
- Last night’s leftovers
- Sliced apples or pears with cinnamon (can be served warm)
- 100-calorie snack packs
- Cookies made with fruit juice
- Fat-free pudding
- Homemade smoothie
- Homemade carrot cake, zucchini bread, or banana bread
With so many easy-to-make options, giving your kids a healthy lunch—and a healthier future—doesn’t have to be a chore! And what’s better, you can apply these same guidelines to your own midday meals, to cut back on fattening fast-food lunches. Give these ideas a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!