Plan for Healthy Eating for Kids this Summer

Families in Iowa are getting ready for summer vacation. I’ve heard several discussions concerning how old children should be to stay home by themselves part or all of the day, household rules, and how to get siblings to get along when the parents are gone.

Eating is another routine that changes during the summer. Kids often get up later since they don’t have to go to school, they may skip breakfast, and just snack all day instead of eating meals.   

Sitting down to plan lunch meals with your kids is a good idea. This way the menu includes foods they like and can make themselves. As for snacks, consider preparing two snack boxes—one for the refrigerator and one for the cupboard. Parents or adults choose what goes in the box and children choose what they would like to eat from the box. The University of Missouri Extension has a handout called Pack a snack box with healthy ideas for getting started. 

Remember, you are in charge of buying food. If you only buy healthy foods, that’s what the kids will have to eat.

Next week, recipes for kids…

-pointers from Peggy

Plan a lunch that won’t get traded away

Have you ever visited your kids’ school lunchroom. Imagine the New York Stock exchange–only with yogurt being exchanged for a sack of chips instead of stocks being bought and sold.

One of the most important tips for packing lunches that your child won’t trade away is to involve them in the planning, shopping and preparation of their meals. Children who help select items are likely to remain interested in their selections…and will probably look forward to trying them. This is also true for meals at home, but even more important for meals eaten away from you.

-pointers by Peggy

Fred’s Community Sandwich saves money for the whole gang

My husband started a ‘community sandwich’ option at his worksite. He takes a week’s worth of ingredients for sandwiches (deli meats, sometimes cheese) on Mondays. It’s stored in the frig in the break room and anyone can use the ingredients to make a sandwich. They pay $1.00 per sandwich. Every week he buys a couple of different deli meats (pepper turkey is the most popular). Someone else brings the bread and other fixings. They take the money out of the sandwich ‘kitty’ to fund the ingredients each week. This started as a ‘trial’ run that has helped my husband save money and is so much easier then packing a lunch. Many of his co-workers are appreciating the cost savings and healthier eating as well.

-contributed by Renee

Lunchtime Solutions

Do you regularly pack a lunch? It saves money, but until you make it part of your regular routine, it can be a hassle. My husband and I want the health and money saving benefits of taking lunch from home, but often are too unorganized, lazy, short on time, or whatever to consistently get something together either the night before or in the morning. Here’s what we’ve done:

My noon lunch is usually ‘super cheap’…and super easy. I always keep a variety of light yogurt and fresh fruit on hand. If there are no leftovers available, I can just grab a yogurt and 1 – 2 pieces of fruit and my lunch is ready. If I happen to have cut up veggies or whole wheat crackers on hand I may grab them, too. This lunch costs about $1. The down side is that for some people it would not be enough to eat…and I admit, some days I’m hungry at the end of the work day. If you want to watch calories and sugar intake you do have to be careful when buying yogurt. Look for the containers that are both low fat and low sugar, they will usually have 100 calories or less for a 6-ounce serving.

Tell us about your ‘lunchtime solutions.’ How do you eat economically—yet healthy—for  lunch?

-contributed by Renee

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