Health experts share nearly a dozen healthy lunch foods kids will love (really!).
Yes, you’re busy… but tossing a PB&J, a pack of candy, and a juice box in your child’s lunch box probably won’t keep her energized. Think of the midday meal as fuel for the brain and the body to power the rest of their day, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN.
Here’s where it gets tricky: “It’s not a slam dunk that if you bring your lunch, it’s going to be healthy,” says Blatner, referencing a 2014 study that found packed lunches to be generally less nutritious than those offered by schools.
“To carry them well throughout the day, children need a little of everything, including protein for their muscles, carbohydrates for energy and their brain, as well as various nutrients that each provides unique functions,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN. Follow this easy-to-master, nutritionist-approved four-point (five… if you count the snack) guide—just mix and match from the options below to capture nutrients from each category.