(WKBN) – As kids head back to class, there’s another thing parents have to think about – school lunches.
Packing them can be an extra step that feels like a chore. A healthy lunch is important for growing kids and there are ways to simplify the process.
It starts with having a variety of food in the lunch box.
“You want to make sure you’re getting all the different food groups in a lunch. So packing fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy. A lot of times we’re just packing a sandwich and chips or something like that,” said Cleveland Clinic pediatric registered dietitian Evelyn Benden.
Though variety is good, it doesn’t have to be over-complicated – making the swap from sugary and processed food can help give kids more energy and concentration throughout the day.
Benden said even though nutrition is important to consider, it doesn’t matter if a kid flat-out refuses to eat the food.
“You don’t want to put things in their lunch that they really don’t like because they’re definitely not going to eat them. So maybe the foods that are harder, have at home at dinner or on the weekends and pick things you know they’re able to eat,” Benden said.
Meal prep can also be a time-saver in the morning. Some parents might end up having kids buy lunch at school. School menus normally follow nutritional guidelines, but it’s good to check what’s on the menu ahead of time.