Pack your kids’ lunch with nutrients

by Nurse Rose Melendez | WGTS 91.9 FM

As many busy parents know, it can be tough to pack a healthy, nutritious lunch for kids, especially picky eaters. Emergency Department Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, and mom of three, shares her advice. 

What are some ways to get your child to actually eat the healthy food you pack for them?

Nurse Rose: I know that with a picky eater, that can be challenging. Getting your kid involved is a great way to pack a healthy lunch that they’ll actually eat.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Set a designated meal-planning time, like Sunday afternoon, when kids can help plan and prepare lunches with you.
  • Give kids healthy options. For example, ask your child, “Would you prefer an apple or a banana?” Making your child feel like they had a say in their lunch helps ensure they’ll enjoy it.
  • Satisfy a sweet tooth with health alternatives like Greek yogurt with fruit, pudding or homemade baked goods.

What kinds of foods should we be packing our kids?

Nurse Rose: When packing your child’s lunch, these two rules are key to making sure your child gets the right nutrients to keep them healthy and feeling full and focused all day.

  • Pack foods high in protein and fiber like turkey, cheese and peanut butter. Combine it with whole-grain bread for a nutritious, kid-friendly sandwich that will keep your kid fueled up.
  • Go for lots of fruits and vegetables instead of processed snacks like chips.

How can you pack a healthy lunch for the child who just doesn’t like sandwiches?

Nurse Rose: Some kids just like to snack. Here are some healthy ideas for your snacker.

  • Fresh fruit like apples, berries, pears grapes, melon balls, bananas or oranges
  • Low-fat string cheese
  • One ounce of unsalted nuts
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisons on top
  • Fresh veggies with low-fat dressing or hummus
Rose Melendez, RN

Rose Melendez, RN

Head of Emergency Department

Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.

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