Nutrition is one of the most, if not THE most, important thing for a developing child. What they put in their bodies now sets the stage for what they will be able to achieve, not only now, but later down the line as they enter school. Not only that, but setting healthy habits at an early age, gives them a better chance of having healthy habits as they age.
As a daycare provider in Kenosha, we see all sorts of different food pop out of lunch boxes and bags every day. While the decision of what to give your child to eat during the day is completely up to you, we have some tips for packing a lunch with healthy options that are easy!
Snacks don’t need to be unhealthy
I don’t think it’s any question that snack time is one of a child’s favorite part of the day. I mean, who doesn’t love a little extra food during their day, right? The types of snacks we see kiddos bring come in a wide range, but the most common are items like chips, fruit snacks, and the ever-popular goldfish. It is easy to understand why these snacks are so popular – They are easy to quickly put together and kids LOVE them. However, snack time doesn’t need to be unhealthy. In fact, studies show that kids who get a healthy snack during the day vs. something sugary have better focus and are less tired. Healthy snacks like fruits and veggies give your child the fuel they need to have a very productive day! There are many options out there such as chips made from dried banana that your child won’t even notice aren’t the normal treats they are used to! Here are some more healthy snack ideas!
Meal Prep is the key to healthy lunches
When it comes to packing a healthy lunch, the biggest factor for most parents comes down to time. Especially if you have multiple children, it’s just easier to find something that comes frozen or is prepackaged and ready to eat. Don’t get us wrong, things happen and that Lunchable can come in VERY handy, however, by taking the proper steps your child can have a healthy meal ready to go every day of the week.
On the weekends, try and find time to prep all the meals for the week. There are tons of amazing recipes out there that have directions built to make enough servings to last an entire week. The best part? No more scrambling the night before or right away in the morning when you forgot to put together a lunch. All you need to do is stuff the lunchbox and you’re done! You can also use this as a fun activity to spend extra time with your children. Who needs a tablet when there is so much fun to be had in the kitchen!
A little treat still has its place
C’mon, you didn’t think our hearts were that cold did you? Just because we love it when kids bring in healthy lunches and snacks, doesn’t mean a little treat is a bad thing. Whether your child is a big fan of chocolate or something a little salty, a snack is a perfect way to remind them that you are thinking about them and love them during their day. The key to treats is portion control. Instead of packing a giant pudding cup or a candy bar, how about trying a mini-muffin or something a little more “fun-sized”. That way, they are able to enjoy a little something fun, without crashing from their sugar high a little while later!
Overall, we are all about promoting well-rounded nutrition for the kids we see every day. While moving away from the ease of pre-packaged snacks and meals can seem like a pain, with a little diligence and a few ideas, your little one can be set up for a much more productive and active day!