Kick-Off the New School Year with these Healthy Lunch Recipes

‘Tis the season for school supplies, teacher-student meet-and-greet sessions, homework, and planning for success in the coming year! While purchasing a new home in a fantastic school district in McHenry County is an important part of ensuring that your child receives a top-notch education, Gerstad Builders recognizes parents’ need to continue instilling healthy habits when their children are away from home, especially in the school cafeteria.

Parents with picky eaters know that selecting and packing school lunches that will be loved can sometimes be a challenge, so we’ve gathered some of our favorite options and tips to make this year healthy and delicious!

  • Buy Low-Sodium: While sandwiches are an easy, go-to lunch meal, they can also pack a lot of sodium. Make them healthier by choosing low-sodium lunch meats and light mayonnaise on healthy, whole wheat bread. Add low-fat cheese, lettuce and tomato to complete this favorite.
  • Ditch the Chips: This may be an adjustment at first, but there are many replacement options for this salty snack that will offer nutritional value. Try low-sodium, unsalted pretzels paired with hummus; string cheese; carrots with light ranch for dipping; or celery sticks filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins…also known as “ants on a log.” Yum!
  • Satisfy the Sweet Tooth: Adopting healthier eating habits doesn’t mean depriving yourself or your child. Fruit is a great option for naturally satisfying the craving for sweets, but treats like chocolate kisses (recommended serving of 4) are OK in moderation.
  • Give Fruit a New Look: Forget boring fruit cups—fruit kabobs are a fun way to pack a variety of fresh fruit and will definitely be the talk of the table in the school cafeteria. This is also a great way to give your child the chance to taste different fruits.
  • Create Your Own Trail Mix: Let your children have a say in what they eat by letting them combine a variety of nuts, dark-chocolate chips and dried fruit to create their own trail mix. It is a fun memory to make and will also make them “proud” to eat this healthy snack.
  • Don’t forget H20: Don’t forget to stress the importance of drinking water to your child, regardless of age.  Since so many empty calories can be found in sugary sodas, sports drinks and juices, water is an excellent option to improve overall health. In addition, Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that children drink at least six to eight glasses per day. Make drinking water fun by allowing your super student to pick out his or her own water bottle or silly straw, or turning it into a fun game to see who drinks the most water every day and offering a reward for the “winner.”

Not only will a healthy lunch help your child eat fewer calories, but it will also give them the energy they need to make it through each school day.

As a McHenry County home builder, Gerstad Builders is dedicated to not only building families the home of their dreams, but also a lifestyle that promotes a healthier future. For more information on purchasing a new home in McHenry County, visit the Gerstad Builders website today.