Packing the perfect lunch for your child doesn’t have to be complicated. Personally, I rarely make anything fancy for my kids’ lunches. But I do try to make sure that their lunches are balanced and full of variety.
What Does a Balanced Lunch Look Like?
Below is a visual of what should ideally go into a child’s lunch each day. Granted, kids are human, not robots, so they’re rarely perfectly predictable and compliant. But this list should give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for.
Get A Printable Version of the List to Hang On Your Fridge
Keep in mind, the ideal amounts listed are for one meal (i.e. lunch) and not for the whole day. On a per day basis, the average 5- to 8-year-0ld should aim for about 1.5 cups of fruit, 2 cups of veggies, 5 ounces of grains (half of them whole grains), 5 ounces of protein and 2.5 cups of dairy.
What If My Kid Won’t Eat All Those Foods?
Well, that just means your kid is normal. The truth is, vegetables are missing from most kids’ lunches. And most adults don’t eat what they should for lunch either. But now you have a goal to set. Spend some time thinking about how you can inch your little one closer to a more balanced lunch. You may need to start by adding just one baby carrot or one sugar snap pea.
Or, if it’s just too difficult to make changes to your child’s lunch right now, focus on making the change to another meal, like dinner or even the after-school snack.
10 Simple Ideas to Inspire You
Looking for ways to make the ideas on the list a reality? Check out some of the lunches below. Granted, not all of them are perfect, but they’re all super simple to make, are pretty balanced and offer lots of variety.