Packing your child’s lunchbox? Here are a few simple tips

Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 2:19 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Keeping up with healthy nutritious meals throughout the school year can be tough. We have a few simple tips on how parents and students can get an A+ in packing school lunches.

When it comes to packing lunches, experts say that there are three things to keep in mind: what’s in their lunchbox, will it keep cold, and time.

Let’s start with deciding on what foods to include in your child’s lunchbox. Imer Smith, the director of child nutrition at Brunswick County Schools, says to make sure you have your bases covered.

“Think about the different colors of what’s going in their lunch boxes. Making sure that they have their fruit, vegetables, proteins, greens and then beverages,” said Smith.

The key is to include items that will give your child energy for the day. Of course, some items like the previous night’s leftovers may not do so well left unrefrigerated, which could lead to foodborne illnesses. A helpful tip is to freeze a water bottle or juice box the night before to act as an ice pack throughout the day and keep the food fresh.

Smith says a lunch from the cafeteria is always an option as well and much different from the meals you remember.

“We’re introducing a lot of things that parents typically pack in their kid’s lunch boxes, we have it here in the cafeterias. Cafeteria lunches can decrease the stress of parents every morning having to think about packing a school meal for their child,” said Smith.

When it comes to packing that meal, Smith says that it’s best to plan ahead so you’re not putting a lunchbox together while rushing your kids out the door.

“Start prep for the whole week and make it easy for parents in the morning where they don’t have to think about what’s going to go in the child’s lunchbox. Make sure the already prepped meal is in containers, bags, and all they have to do is just assemble it and put it into the lunchboxes,” said Smith.

These are all helpful tips and information to ensure your child is fed a well-balanced meal without adding more to your plate.

To learn more about healthy habits at home, the Brunswick County nutrition department has additional tips and recipe ideas on their website.