Back-to-school season is just about here, and if you're packing your kiddo's lunchbox this year, we've got ideas for how to make it healthier, especially since September is National Childhood Obesity month.
Read on for tips from Dr. Natalie Digate Muth, a community pediatrician and senior health strategist with the American Council on Exercise.
Aim for balance: Try to include something from each of the major food groups: a whole grain, vegetable, fruit, protein and a source of calcium, to show your child what a balanced meal includes.
Increase exposure to healthy foods: One of the best ways that parents can help their children develop healthy eating habits is to repeatedly expose them to a wide variety of foods. While children may not accept the new food on the first try, with repeated attempts and familiarity, they will become more likely to develop a preference for it.
Teach portion control: Use plastic baggies, attempt to measure out what a standard portion actually is and try to pick up some inherently portion-controlled items for the lunchbox, like applesauce and string cheese, to help instill a sense of what appropriately sized portions are.
Involve your child: Be sure to include at least one healthy item that your child loves in his or her lunchbox every day, and get your child's input on what healthy items he or she want you to pick up at the grocery store.