If you’re like me, you struggle to find ways to get your kids to eat healthy meals. After all, my kids are pretty specific on the “healthy” stuff they want to eat, and I certainly don’t want to drive them away from the healthy foods they do eat by repeatedly packing them in their school lunches. Therefore, I’m always looking for ways to sneak in some good, nutritious fruits, veggies and proteins into their lunch boxes.
For parents in a similar situation, Shane Griffin, CEO of Whole Life Balance – an international nutritional coaching company – has worked with many parents who have faced this same struggle. His solution? Try sneaking nutrients into your kids’ food with these five school lunch nutritional hacks.
1. Utilize powdered foods: Powdered whole foods have recently made their way into the market, and they are an excellent tool for parents whose kids are picky eaters. Say your kid craves mac n’ cheese every week; the boxed versions have little nutrition on their own. By adding Activz’s powdered carrots and pumpkin into your own creation, you’re giving your kid a tasty treat while greatly boosting the nutritional value of an otherwise unhealthy meal.
2. Embrace the superfruit fad: “Superfruit” is an overused term these days, but it came to light for a good reason: Some fruits just pack a bigger nutritional punch than others. One of my favorite newcomers is camu camu, a fruit straight out the Amazon rainforest with 30 times the vitamin C of an orange and 10 times the antioxidant capacity of acai. Immune-boosting vitamin C is especially important with kids headed back into the classroom, as research showsthat 164 million school days are missed yearly due to infectious diseases. So try sneaking vitamin C into a tasty salad with some Amaçari, a 100-percent whole food camu camu supplement, to support good health.
3. Go lean or go home: Not all meats are created equal, but they are a great source of protein that every growing body craves. A great way to boost the nutritional value of any school lunch is to substitute leaner meats into the mix. Try using ground turkey instead of beef in your meatloaf or meatballs, or if you’re making tacos, try substituting pork ribs for the ground beef you usually use. If your kid loves chicken, skip the fried version for a nice organic boneless, skinless alternative. Remember, proper seasoning is important to keep the flavor consistent!
4. Bake in the goodness: Most kids are fans of baked treats, but they don’t have to know how the cookie is made; they just care how it tastes. If you’re cooking muffins or cookies, try using organic applesauce as the base. Then toss in some ground flaxseed or wheat germ into the batter to boost the nutritional content. If you’re feeling extra bold, add in pureed squash, zucchini or banana to really give it a healthy lift. Substituting healthy alternatives like these will teach your kids that tasty doesn’t have to mean unhealthy!
5. Blend in a nutritional boost: Smoothies can be your best friend, and give you a chance to really provide whole food nutrients in the tastiest way possible. As a base, use organic milk or a dairy alternative like rice or almond milk. Load up the smoothie with spinach, berries and a banana for sweetness. Remember, Omega-3’s are a vital part of your kid’s brain development, so add in some of Karlene’s Sea-liciousto create the ultimate powerhouse smoothie.
Sending our kids to school with a healthy lunch in hand continues to challenge many parents. Hopefully, some, if not all, of these tips will help you pack a better lunch for your children. And if you have your own nutritional hacks for school lunches, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!