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Back-to-School Nutrition: The Importance of a Healthy Lunchbox

We all know how important good nutrition is for everybody, but for growing kids, it is an absolute essential. Healthy foods help boost the learning process, by keeping kids alert, ready to learn, and feeling great. Having a balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus a healthy snack helps immensely, and a good, nutritious lunch is an essential part of a child’s learning and development.

While school lunches have come a long way and now offer healthier alternatives than probably when parents were in school, many families still choose to send a lunch with their child. Taking the time to plan a healthy lunch box will really bring the benefits too.

Better Learning

It is proven that nutritious meals help children learn better through various studies. This research showed higher test scores in children who ate balanced meals when compared to those who consumed meals with a higher salt and fat content. Those who eat healthy meals are also less likely to take time off of school due to illness. There is no denying the link between academic success and a nutritional diet.

Supports Physical Development

A healthy lunch isn’t just good brain food, but it helps support a normal physical development. When kids have a well-balanced meal, they are getting the nutrients they need to help them grow. Those without a nutritious meal are often left with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Having regular good meals can help ward off diseases as it supports a healthy immune system too.

Teaches Healthy Living

Good nutrition isn’t just something we need at school – it’s a lifelong thing we should adhere to for a healthy living. When you promote a healthy lifestyle with nutritious lunches, you’re teaching your children the importance of healthy foods and that they can be tasty too! Kids will carry these habits with them. And when parents eat healthily, that strengthens it even more.

For decades, we have been told about convenience and snapping up foods that are easy and quick, but often come with a lot of fat, salt, preservatives and more things we don’t really need in our bodies. Now, if we teach our children about making healthy choices, then they will hopefully continue the trend down to their children, starting a trend for generations to come.

Treats Are Still Okay!

Treats are fine to have, but they should be just that…a treat, meaning it isn’t something they have as part of a meal. Things like chips, pastries, cakes, and candy are alright, but only in moderation and not as a substitute for a meal or healthy snack. Keep these at a minimum, and kids will learn to appreciate them.

What and When to Prepare

For many, the mornings are the busiest time of the day. It can be hectic getting everyone ready for the day ahead, but a little planning can go a long way when it comes to a healthy lunchbox to send your kids to school with. Try to avoid the easy, pre-made, grab and go lunches and make your own. Here are a few tips for parents and guardians to follow when planning lunches:

  • Avoid foods that have any trans fats.
  • Greatly limit the amount of saturated fats, salt, and sugar.
  • Go for low-fat dairy and whole-grains (this provides slow-release energy and keeps your child prepared for the rest of the day).
  • Include a source of protein (dairy, meats, beans, eggs, and peanut butter if allowed).
  • Also throw in some fruit and veggies for a well-balanced meal.
  • Many juices contain an incredible amount of sugar. Go for sugar-free options or stick with water or milk.
  • Prepare everything the night before! You will be glad you did!

If you want some tasty and fun healthy lunch ideas for the kids, then check out our past healthy lunch box blog (http://www.petitebeautykids.com/8-healthy-and-tasty-lunch-box-ideas/) for some ideas.

Also, as we mentioned earlier, school lunches are getting healthier. This may be an option many parents take and that’s okay too! Just be aware of what the school is serving, and if you don’t agree with what’s on the menu, then don’t be afraid to speak up! Change can only be made when someone speaks up about the issue. Although, we do hope that schools will continue to offer healthier and tasty items that kids will enjoy!

What sort of healthy lunches do you pack your kids? Which are their favorites? Share your ideas with us!

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