When it comes to your child’s school lunch, include nourishing foods, yes, but make sure the meal stays healthy until lunchtime. From properly storing foods to keeping lunchboxes clean, follow these tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to ensure your kids have a safe, tasty lunch awaiting them come chow time.
Sanitize. Half of all kids who bring a lunchbox to school say their boxes aren’t cleaned every day. Be sure to wash the container with soap and warm water after every use.
Start with a clean slate. If you make your child’s lunch in the morning before school, take the time to wash down countertops to kill any trace of your meal from the night before. This can help decrease the chance of food-born illness.
Have them wash up. Make cleaning up before eating easy for cafeteria diners by including a moist towelette or hand sanitizer in their lunchbox.
Keep it cool. Since many children don’t have access to a refrigerator at school, put perishable foods in an insulated pack or include an ice pack. Frozen water bottles work well!
Smart drinks. Try giving kids water or low-fat milk at lunchtime instead of soda or sugary beverages. Sweetened drinks are a source for empty calories that can throw a kids energy out of balance.
Become food adventures. Sure, a bag of chips might be easy to pack, but the best way to ensure kids get the nutrition their bodies needs on a daily basis is to try branching out, creatively. If your kids like dips, try serving fruit slices with yogurt or veggie slices with a healthy dressing.