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Six Tips to Making A Healthier Lunch!
By Laura Pasetta

  1. Plan Ahead
    Taking the time to provide your child with a nutritious lunch is one of the most important steps you can take towards improving your child’s health and well-being. Finding the time in your busy schedule is another story. Lessen the strain by preparing your child’s lunch the night before and placing it in the refrigerator. With mornings the way they are, every morning minute is worth an investment of three or four minutes the night before!
  2. Include Your Child
    Ask your child to tell you their five favorite lunch box items. Now look at the list and mark the least healthy items. Make lunches replacing the low nutrition foods with high nutrition but tasty substitutes. Have your child help you make these choices, explaining to him or her that each lunch has to have some "main" items, and over time, build an outline of healthy foods your child enjoys eating. By helping you, your child is part of the process, and therefore more likely to eat the healthier items.
  3. Don’t Get Discouraged: It's a Process
    If your child is not eating all the wholesome choices at first, that’s normal! It's also normal for your child to tire of a healthier, "main" item after being "OK" with it for a period of time. One way to overcome both resistance and "taste fatigue" is to make new recipes at home with your child on a continuing basis. Experiment with ingredients until you achieve a taste your child likes.

    If the same foods keep finding their way into your child’s lunch, then there’s no opportunity for your child to experience anything new, and there's a struggle ahead when he or she tires of a currently-OK main food.
  4. Introducing Change
    The easiest and most effective way to introduce positive new choices is to make one change at a time. One solid change per month would be 12 changes in a year. And at the end of that year, you would find your child happily eating healthy, nourishing lunches.
    A simple and highly effective change can be as simple as changing the type of beverage that goes into the lunch box. Instead of packing a soda or high fructose, artificially flavored drink, choose 100% fruit juice, or ice cold water infused with a lemon slice.
  5. Make It Fun
    Once in a while, add mystery, surprise, and interest to a lunch. Even cutting fruits and vegetables in a creative way can help introduce a new fruit or vegetable to your child. Sandwiches cut into kids' favorite shapes can extend a child's tolerance of PB& J, or help them not notice that you are using organic peanut butter and all-natural jelly sweetened only with fruit juice!
  6. Pack a Box of Love
    Okay, it's corny, but it's true. In today’s busy world parents struggle to spend more time and create special moments with their children. When you send your child off to school with a healthy, attractive, fun-to-eat lunch, you are saying “I love and care for you!” So does asking questions such as, “What did you like best about your lunch today?” or “Let's go to the kitchen after this and see what you might like to try next?” Kids enjoy communicating what they like, so use this very special tool to personalize their lunch, become their favorite chef, and start them off on a lifelong habit of enjoyable, healthy nutrition.

Copyright © 2005 Education World
Article by Laura Pasetta
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