It’s officially fall! Time for crunching leaves, new school supplies, and figuring out what on Earth to pack your child for lunch. Life is especially lively during this time of year. You’re busy enough putting together lunches for your children, much less a healthy lunch! Today I’m breaking down why nutrition is important for kids, how to design a healthy lunch, and giving you some easy Paleo lunch ideas your kids will love.
Before my full-time career in Holistic Nutrition, I was a first-grade teacher for seven years. Whenever I had birthday parties in the classroom and parents brought in treats, I scheduled the parties for 3:10 pm. Why? Because dismissal was at 3:15 pm and I needed those kids out of the classroom before the pink and green frosting hit their bodies.
It’s no secret that there is a direct correlation between what kids eat and how they perform in school. By providing our children with a healthy lunch, we can improve their focus, mood, and energy. Nutrition is important for all children, particularly ones with any learning differences like ADHD, processing issues, dyslexia, ASD, and more. Food is fuel and essential for keeping kids going during the day.
When designing a lunch for your child, I recommend thinking about lunch in three categories: protein (organic meat, nuts, seeds), fiber (vegetables and fruit) and fat (avocado, nuts, quality oils). Children also need nutritious carbohydrates (fruit, grain-free chips/crackers) to keep them going through a long school day. When you choose a healthy item from each category it can take the headache out of planning a lunch. Healthy eating does not need to be elaborate either - sometimes simple food is best!
Do your kids gag at vegetables? Don’t worry, start them slow. Even if your child eats two pieces of broccoli in their lunch instead of a full serving that is still a success. By exposing your child to healthy meals they will gain knowledge of what a quality meal should look like. They may even surprise themselves and discover they like certain vegetables they never thought they would! Be sure to pack your child with a water bottle for school as well-proper hydration is key.
Now that you know what makes a healthy Paleo meal, check out some examples below. Feel free to mix and match what your kids might like, keeping in mind protein, fiber, and fat! Kids will also need carbs throughout the day which is why I include fruit and grain-free “chips.” Aim to use organic, seasonal fruit and veggies, and responsibly-raised meat when possible.
2 dates stuffed with almond butter (or sunflower seed butter if a nut-free school)
½ a cup of baby carrots
3-4 slices of organic smoked salmon or organic turkey (option to add a grain-free wrap)
4-5 organic berries
Siete Chips with guacamole or sliced avocado
2 hardboiled eggs sprinkled with salt and pepper
½ cup of baby carrots
Ants on a Log (Celery with almond/sunflower seed butter and raisins)
Empower your kids to learn what goes into a healthy lunch and before long they could be packing their own. Remember, healthy eating doesn't have to be hard. Keep it simple and have fun with it!
Curious to learn more? Connect with INHC Georgia Grey today! Georgia is based out of Denver, Colorado offering individualized holistic nutrition in person or video chat. Georgia works as a health coach for whole families, providing unique meal plans and education around how to live a healthier life. She loves working with individuals as well, helping people heal their autoimmune disease through food, weight loss, and maintaining a healthy gut.