This is a busy time of year. Sporting events, after-school activities, early morning practices, and lessons are just a few reasons why shopping for healthy lunch items and packing that healthy lunch may not always be at the top of your priority list. In order to keep your energy up during your full day, you and your family need nutritious foods. Packing healthy lunches can be easy if you plan ahead.
First, use the weekend to write out your lunch menu ideas and shop accordingly. Secondly, get your family involved. You do not have to do this alone! Have your children pick out healthy foods that they will actually eat. Third, pack lunches the night before. This will save you time in the morning and decrease stress. Eliminating this one step can make your morning smooth and more efficient. Fourth, mix it up! Try not to pack the same thing each day or each week. Rotate your favorite lunches and even throw in something new each week.
Don’t forget breakfast during back to school season. Students who eat a balanced breakfast are more alert throughout the school day and earn higher grades than those who skip.
Here are some quick and nutritious breakfast options:
• Iron-fortified cereal and milk with banana slices • Peanut butter on whole grain toast, a whole grain waffle, or rolled inside a whole-wheat tortilla • Fruit, such as bananas, strawberries, or raisins on milk and instant oatmeal • Lean ham on a toasted whole wheat English muffin Add an extra boost of nutrition by dishing up these options with a cup of low-fat milk
Here is a go-to healthy lunch option:
Whole-Wheat Veggie Wrap
Ingredients: • 1 8-inch whole wheat tortilla • 2 tablespoons hummus • ¼ avocado, mashed • 1 cup sliced fresh vegetables of your choice o A few ideas: carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, onions • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese Directions: • Lay tortilla flat. Spread hummus and avocado on the tortilla. Add vegetables and cheese and roll up. Cut in half to serve.
Recipes provided by North Arkansas Regional Medical Center Food and Nutrition Department.