Balanced lunches for kids made easy

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 10:49 AM CDT
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Hy-Vee nutrient expert, Nina Struss discussed ten tips to making a great lunch for kids going back to school. She also introduces Love Your Lunch Workshop, which is a class that the dietitian services provides at Hy-Vee.

10 tips on making a great lunch for kids:

  1. Kids like ready-to-eat foods - a peeled and segmented orange is more likely to get eaten than a whole orange
  2. Kids like small things - use cookie cutters to cut up sandwiches or bake muffins in a mini-muffin pan
  3. Kids like dip - use small containers to create fun combinations like pretzels or crackers with peanut butter, salsa with chips or vegetables with dressing
  4. Kids like crunchy textures - provide crunch with raw vegetables or low-fat pretzels or crackers
  5. Combine colors, textures and different food groups to provide a variety of flavors and nutrients
  6. Select a rainbow of colors of fruits and vegetables to provide assorted vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber
  7. Fruits are “nature’s candy” and make a great choice for something sweet
  8. Get children involved in choosing, preparing and packing lunch foods. This makes them feel like part of the team and motivates them to eat what they pack and not throw any away.
  9. Teach your child how to balance less nutritious foods with more nutrient-rich choices by packing only a small portion of the ‘treat’. Pack only one treat per day to demonstrate how to balance treats with other healthy foods.
  10. Remember food safety! Use a properly insulated bag and add an ice-pack or frozen bottled water or 100% juice if the lunch contains any perishable items.

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