Five Tips for Healthier School Lunches

School is back in session but that doesn’t mean children have to succumb to subpar school lunches. There are several easy ways to spice up lunches, while keeping them healthy and delicious.

With a little planning and an eye on fresh, natural options, it’s easy to provide kids with healthy lunches. Consider the following:

Include Natural Juices: Many juice boxes are loaded with artificial sugars and flavoring. An easy way to cut unnecessary sugar is with natural juices. Look for options that are 100 percent fruit and vegetables, like RAAW™ Juices. With healthy and delicious combinations like Raspberry Lemongrass and Strawberry Purple Carrot, kids are getting additional servings of fruits and vegetables without knowing it.

Stick to Homemade: In almost any situation homemade is better. Packaged goods are an easy option while at the grocery store, but they’re typically high in fat and sodium, and low in nutritional value. Grilling chicken breasts the night before, using leftovers or making a batch of easy homemade crackers are all great alternatives. Parents can make a healthy “lunch-able” that kids will love and friends will envy.

Keep it Kid-Friendly: This may seem obvious, but taking an extra step while preparing the lunch to make it more kid-friendly will ensure children actually eat the food. Take fruit and vegetables for example, a child is more likely to eat a cut up apple or finger food over a whole fruit or vegetable. And to ensure kids don’t trade out all of their fruits and vegetables, it’s often a good idea to include a treat of sorts. The best way to stick to a healthy lifestyle is by treating yourself occasionally to the things you crave too.

Cover the Food Groups: Try to include items from the food groups in lunch everyday. A sandwich is a great way to tackle grains, protein, vegetables and dairy all in one quick food, and opting for whole grain bread or wraps and low-fat cheese keeps the sandwich healthier. Add apple slices or strawberries as a sweet treat that doubles as fruit servings and a combination fruit-vegetable juice for a well rounded meal.

Involve the Children: Working together with children to make the lunch gives them a choice and they’re more likely to enjoy the process. In addition, it’ll help teach them how to make healthy choices.

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