New school uniforms, backpacks, friends, teachers and classrooms can make starting Pre-School an exciting time for most children. Although you may have ensured that your child has all of the books, stationery and other items they need to ensure a successful school day, you may still be concerned about providing them with the best possible lunch options as well. Below are some tips for packing a nutritious and appealing lunchbox for your Pre-School child.
To avoid the last-minute rush of tossing a packet of crisps and an apple in your child’s bag for lunch in the morning, it’s recommended that you plan ahead by doing a little food shopping beforehand.
A mistake too many parents make with regards to packing their Pre-School child’s lunchbox is not involving them in the process of choosing what they would like to eat – although this doesn’t mean allowing your child to exclusively select junk food. Instead, make a list of the items you know your child will eat and have them select items from it.
When making your food list, try to choose items that will last at least a few days in the refrigerator, as this will enable you to do a single weekly shop instead of multiple trips. In cases where your child may have selected items such as fresh berries, these may need to be used within the first few days after purchase to avoid spoilage.
Ideas for some non-perishable lunchbox filler include raisins, nuts (unless your child’s school is a nut-free zone), wheat or salt crackers, rice cakes and granola. Other popular items include yogurt or fruit cups, carrot sticks, small portions of sliced jerky, mini wieners, fresh fruit pieces, sandwiches cut into small portions, popcorn and hard-boiled eggs (be sure to provide a little salt for flavor). A portion of milk, water or juice should also be included.
Getting Down to the Packing
In most cases, mornings are extremely rushed when having to get your child to school, especially if they don’t enjoy waking up. As a result, it’s a good idea to pack their lunch the night before and store it in the refrigerator. This will enable them to simply grab it and place it in their backpack on the way out the door.
While packing your Pre-School child’s lunchbox, it provides the ideal opportunity to teach them about balancing their diet with varying portions of protein, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and fats. It is strongly recommended that you avoid packing sugary items such as cookies, candy and chocolate – unless it is a special occasion such as a birthday.
Despite making every effort to purchase and pack lunchbox foods that you know your child will eat, there is bound to be at least a few days each month where your child will bring most of the food back home again. However, this doesn’t mean that you have done a bad job; it may simply mean that your child was not hungry enough to finish everything that was packed.