As a parent or teacher, you want to see kids grow as physically, mentally, and academically healthy as possible. Luckily, healthy food can help achieve these goals, and there is no better time to expose them to healthy eating routines than their tender years.
Real Food vs. Junk Food
Sometimes we get confused about what quality food truly is. The attractive packaging and marketing for foods like pizzas, burgers, sugary pastries and soda entice us. They are easily accessible because companies are making them in commercial quantities, but studies show that the high levels of saturated fats and sugars in these foods can adversely affect a child’s learning ability.
On the flip side, vegetables, fruits, and greens are more positive substances for kids to ingest because they are nutrient-rich with vitamins, potassium, folate, and fiber. The Journal of School Health has published articles supporting that kids who eat more vegetables, fruits and greens perform better in school.
Fruits and vegetables are the cleanest natural sources for energy. The nutrients derived from eating fresh vegetables, fruits and greens also help reinforce the immune system which will help kids battle colds and stay healthy, enabling learning and physical activity.
Put Fresh First
Here are some lunch box ideas to swap out:
Fruit-infused water instead of juice boxes
Juice boxes are often loaded with sugar and made from juice concentrate with high fructose corn syrup. Fruit-infused water is the real vitamin water. Put a few slices of fresh lemon, oranges or limes and turn boring water into a healthier and more refreshing drink.
Fresh fruit for fruit cups
Fresh fruit is always the better option. Make it fun with fruit kabobs.
Greek yogurt instead of pudding cups
Geek yogurt is very filling and high in protein. You can add honey and fruit to give it a sweeter taste.
Wraps to replace PB&J sandwiches
Here are some great alternatives to the same old PB&J.
- Add almond butter and no sugar added jelly onto a whole wheat wrap. Place a banana in the middle and roll up.
- Spread peanut butter onto the wrap, matchstick-cut apples, granola, raisins, a dash of cinnamon and roll up.
- Spread hummus onto the wrap, add their favorite meat and veggies and roll. Cut into pinwheels for easy bite-sized pieces.
Kids take pride in food they have created and are excited to eat it. These healthier options will not only give them more brain power, but are a fun way to make their school lunches together.
Michelle Steadman is a certified Pilates instructor, a mom, and founder of Truelicious raw food bars. Her new business, Salads in a Jar, brings healthy food delivery to homes and businesses throughout the Coachella Valley. For more information visit SaladsinaJar.com.