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5 Ways to Get Your Kids Excited About Their Healthy Lunch Box


School is back in session for most of the country, which means that the packing of school lunch boxes is well under way. But it can be tough to make sure you’re packing healthy stuff that your picky eaters will actually be excited to eat. So today, we’ve got  Dr. Dyan Hes, medical director at Gramercy Pediatrics and board member on the American Board of Obesity Medicine, to share tips to get your kids to eat the goods.

5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat a Healthy Lunch

1. It’s all about the lunchbox. Think beyond the brown paper bag. Instead make lunch fun for your little one. Let them choose their own lunch box. Whether it’s shaped like their favorite animal or cartoon character, if they are proud to carry it, they’ll be even more excited to eat what’s inside. Throw in some cherries, strawberries, a clementine or cut up pieces of watermelon to add color and texture.

2. Dippity do-da. Condiments are not just for grown-ups. Kids love to dip and dunk their food. Pack some low-fat ranch dressing or hummus and some baby carrots for them to dunk. Add a few scoops of peanut butter and some celery sticks or apple slices for dipping, too.

3. Make it interesting. Instead of making the usual turkey sandwich, spruce it up a bit. Appeal to your child’s visual senses and use fun-shaped cookie cutters to make what’s in between the bread more appealing. Don’t just stop at cold cuts either; get creative with slices of low-fat cheese, whole-grain bread and even fruits and veggies. If your child doesn’t like sandwiches, try making wraps. Then cut them into little circles and call them pinwheels or sandwich sushi!

4. Choice is everything. It’s amazing what youngsters will eat when they feel that they are the ones in control. Let them choose their favorite lunch items (from your healthy stash) or have them help write out the grocery list (as long as they select a certain number of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and protein-packed foods). They’ll be happy to eat foods that are better for them if they’re the ones who helped choose them.

5. Always pack a treat. The last thing you want is for your child to be the only one without an after-lunch treat to look forward to. Take them with you on a trip to the grocery store and let them choose something delicious that is not high in sugar, saturated fat or high fructose corn syrup and low in calories, if possible. Some great options are squeezable yogurts, raisin and nut mixes, low-sugar fruit snacks, vanilla wafers, whole-wheat pretzels or popcorn.

Love these ideas! How do you make lunch fun for your kids, whether you’re at home or sending a lunch to go? —Erin

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