A Guide To Healthy Lunches For Kids That They Would Actually Want To EatA step-by-step guide on how to whip up healthy meals that won’t go untouched on their plate.by R.M. Mauhay .
With kids in the home 24/7, parents have probably exhausted meal ideas. As if making healthy lunches for kids is not challenging enough, you still have to pass the hurdle of making your kids eat what you have prepared.
How to make healthy lunches for kids
It can be especially tough getting picky eaters to eat, and you might constantly be looking for ways to improve their appetite. Worry no more — here’s a step-by-step guide on how to whip up healthy meals that won’t go untouched on their plate.
Step one: Know what your child should be eating
We all know the basics of ‘go, grow, and glow’ foods. But putting together a balanced meal doesn’t just mean throwing in one of each. In a previous article on simplified baon guide for growing kids, we mentioned “The Five” from Harvard Health.
Put simply, these five things are the key to a healthy and balanced meal that you would want your developing child to have. Let’s consider each one of these as the “elements” to a healthy kiddie lunch!
There’s an array of choices for you here. Basically, anything that comes from cereal grains, wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, or barley, are considered a grain product. You can use either oats, bread, cooked rice, pasta, or cereal for your first element.
Whole grains are especially high in iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, B vitamins and dietary fiber. This will take care of their ‘go’ needs.
FruitADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
When introducing healthy food to a very picky eater, it’s okay to take it slow. You can pick one fruit at a time to include in their meals. Just make sure they don’t have to do anything else to it other than pop it in their mouth when served.
Peel them. Slice them. Make them bite-sized. That’s half of their ‘glow’ needs.
This is the other half of their 'glow' needs. You can encourage your child to eat more servings of fruits and vegetables by mixing lettuce and tomatoes to sandwiches, or making potato salad as a side dish.
This provides the 'grow' needs of your child. Meat are rich in protein, which is a big help in developing their muscles.
Dairy products help complete a well-balanced meal that we want our children to have. Milk is typically given to fulfill this element, but you can also mix in cheese, butter, and yogurt!
Step two: Plan your child's meals and let them participate
Now you know what your kids need to eat. But your child doesn’t.
You will have to explain to them why it's important to eat all five elements of their healthy lunch plate. But you’ll have to do this in a language that they will understand.
Be creative and make it fun! For example, if your kids love Frozen, pretend you received a letter from Anna saying that she is on a mission to save Elsa, and she needs your child's help. But, your little one won't be able to help Anna unless everything on her plate is consumed because each one gives 'magic powers.'CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
Realistically, you can also create a list of what you can do with the ingredients inside your fridge and pantry and let your kid choose what they want to eat. Then, let them join in on making their own healthy lunch! You’ll be surprised how eager they will be to eat something they helped prepare.
Step three: Prepare easy and healthy lunches for kids
While reading all about “The Five,” you may have already planned recipes in your head. In case you need more, here are some lunch inspos from Mommy Josanne Burgos from a previous Smart Parenting article.
Halabos na Hipon with Sipo Egg
Lechon Kawali with Nilaga SoupADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Pipino and Arroz Caldo with Egg
Gyudon and Korean Potato SaladADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
If you have the time, you can also try making cute bento boxes to entice your kids and make them excited for lunch time. With the right tools and a bit of imagination, you can recreate some of these lunches from mom Regine Paz Malong.
Anna’s Gulay na Bitsuelas
Snow White’s Parmesan and Panko Baked ChickenADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Alice’s Pork Kaldereta
Step four: Feedback time!
Every child is unique, so you will have to modify some dishes until you find the perfect formula for the ultimate healthy lunch for your kids. That’s why it’s important to know their opinion on what they were served. There might be compromises along the way but, hey, a small step forward is still a step forward.
Click here for more meal ideas.
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