One of the biggest challenges facing a parent or caregiver everyday is the dreaded lunch pack. This is where you must decide what to pack in your child’s lunch that just might entice them to eat while providing them with at least some nutrition. Too often, parents are finding out after several months of school that their little darling is either dumping an uneaten lunch, trading their lunch away for sweets or other treats or simply not eating at all. All too often though the problem with sending a nutritious brown bag lunch is not falling into the routine of convenience. If you are stressed and trying to figure out what to put in your child’s lunch, read on for some tips on what to avoid if you want to send nutritious brown bag lunches. Here are some things to avoid if you want to send a nutritious brown bag lunch with your child-
•Pressure from your child. Too often overworked and overstressed parents give in to their child’s lunchtime demands. In an effort to keep the peace parents are willing to fill a brown bag lunch with a child’s favorite treats and snacks even though they would never allow that lack of nutrition to happen at home. Let your child know that you are willing to compromise on what they eat for lunch (some nutrition and some treats) but the same rules about eating at home apply at school.
•Prepackaged and processed foods. While there are some nutritious prepackaged options for school lunches most are made with heavily processed and highly salted foods that simply are not good for anyone. While they may appeal in taste they lack heavily in nutrition. Consider everything you add to your child’s lunch in terms of how far it has come from its natural state. Taking the time to cut up fresh fruits and veggies, add organic low processed meats and cheeses and low sugar snacks to your child’s brown bag lunch will pay off in added nutrition.
•Too much food. While most adults face the challenge of portion control many children (especially those who are physically small) can be easily overwhelmed by large portions and large sized food. If your child is small consider sending only a few things and just a few bites of each. While this may seem counter-productive to good nutrition studies have shown that most children prefer only a few small bites of a couple of things. While no one is advocating not sending enough food, be sure you can gauge what the right portion for your child is. This will help them eat what you send which is really the bottom line.
•Dessert. Never is it more tempting to simply eat dessert and avoid the rest of lunch then it is when a child opens their brown bag lunch and finds a luscious cupcake, full-size candy bar or two of your giant chocolate chip cookies. While you may think that you are showing your love or support by sending a full portion of dessert in your child’s lunch, you may want to think again. Remember your child has very little supervision over what they eat when they are away from you. They may simply eat dessert and throw the rest of your carefully-packed nutritious lunch in the garbage. Save dessert for when they are at home and you can monitor what they are eating. If you feel that you must include a sweet add a couple of bite-sized candies or small cookies. Better yet surprise them with a sticker, pencil or other non-edible treat in place of dessert for their lunch.