MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s almost time for kids to go back to school. And for parents that means time to start packing lunches again.
It’s not too hard to throw together a lunch quick for your kids, but if you want them to be healthy it does take a little more preparation.
This school year new and healthier rules for the National Lunch Program also go into effect. That’s because the childhood obesity rate in the U.S. has tripled over the last 30 years.
Right now one in five kids are overweight or obese, which is why it’s so important to get kids interested in healthier foods at a young age.
“I think it’s also important to make kids realize what these nutrient rich foods to do for them. It gives them the energy to learn and play throughout the day,” said nutritionist Kristin Johnson. “So if kids know, ‘Wow these foods make me strong, they make my muscles big, they make me run fast,’ they’re more likely to eat these foods.”
Nutritionists say there are three things you should remember to put in your child’s lunchbox. First, make sure you have a good source of protein or dairy. Second, include whole grains like whole wheat bread or pasta. Third, don’t forget the fruits and vegetables. A colorful assortment is always good.
Also, try to work new foods into your child’s lunchbox every so often. Kids tend to develop tastes for different foods as they age.
One thing that makes it easier is to get your kids involved. Let them help you pick things to pack in their lunches.