From backyard bbq’s, fireworks, swimming and all that the great outdoors has to offer, we’ve all been enjoying the summer but as the days begin to draw shorter all good things must come to an end.
As the sunny season draws to a close, millions of children across the country prepare for a new school year as their parents prepare their lunches.
It can prove difficult for parents or guardians to gauge the nutritional value of a school bought lunch, let alone its actual appeal to a child’s ever-changing palate. So, leave the guesswork at the lunch line and treat your child with a prepared lunch you can trust is providing them all the nutritional value they need to get to the head of the class.
SUPER PB & J
There’s a reason peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are considered a staple in children’s lunches for generations. A combo of vitamin C and protein are exactly the one-two punch that can keep kids sustained and alert throughout the rest of their school day.
However, it’s important to keep lunch interesting for children and there’s no reason it can’t start here. Try adding banana slices for additional potassium, shredded coconut, or crushed pretzels for a salty crunch. Be mindful of the sugar, but drizzling a slight amount chocolate or honey may appeal to children with more fickle tastes.
While peanut butter and jelly is a great lunch, not every child can enjoy them due to critical allergic reactions. There is no reason they can’t enjoy an alternative that is just as healthy. Tuna sandwiches prepared with a light mayonnaise offers a refreshing snack loaded with omega-3, which is ideal for critical thinking and creativity. Add some fresh cut green pepper slices, tomato, cucumbers, spinach or hardboiled eggs for added creativity.
AVOID SUGARY DRINKS
All the nutritional value you put into a well-prepared lunch can go right out the window depending on what you decide to include as a beverage. Soda beverages add empty calories, damage the enamel on developing teeth as well as sugar crashes that come after the caffeine spikes suddenly plummet after consuming soda.
Orange, apple, or grape juices are certainly better choices than soda, most juices will have a considerable level of natural sugars that you must be mindful of.
While fresh ice-cold water is always ideal, children may need more flavor. Try adding lemon or lime slices or even frozen raspberries or blueberries for a special zest.
IS LUNCHMEAT CARCINOGENIC?
There’s nothing wrong with some fresh cuts of meat whether it’s in a sandwich or on its own. The kind of meat you decide on, however, can have an impact that lasts far beyond the lunch hour. Many lunch meats are prepared with nitrates and preservatives with some researchers considering certain heavily processed meats like salami, bologna, hotdogs, bacon, and pepperoni potentially carcinogenic.
Slices from fresh cuts of meat are perfectly acceptable if they are prepared in a health-conscious manner, being sure to avoid fatty cuts or greasy fried oil dishes. Try cutting up leftover chicken breasts from yesterday’s dinner to make delicious chicken salad sandwiches the next day.
You may not be able be with you child on their first day this school year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be there for them by providing excellent nutritional lunches.