Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why You Should Pack Vegetables in Your Kid's Lunch

Don't forget the vegetables!
 Many parents tell me that they do not pack vegetables in their children's lunches. My mother never packed vegetables in my lunch. I can't say that I would have eaten them had she packed them, but I enjoyed snacking on vegetables at home as a kid. When you think about what is served for lunch in restaurants, typically vegetables are absent. It is common to see sandwiches and fries or chips with a small fruit or kale garnish. When I eat lunch with my daughter at school, I notice that children who bring their lunches often have sandwiches, juice pouches, pretzels or some sort of crunchy snack food, and maybe some fruit or a cookie. Vegetables are MIA. Perhaps we're not used to eating vegetables at lunch daily so we don't put them in our kid's lunches. Perhaps we're concerned that our kids won't eat them.

As parents, we teach our kids many things. One very important thing that we teach them is what they should eat to gain the energy and vitality to become contributing members of society. Kids push back against our recommendations. That is the nature of being a kid. Does that mean that we stop making recommendations?

When it comes to packing vegetables in our kid's lunches, why do we hesitate? Is it so bad if our kids throw away a snack bag of vegetables? The lesson that you teach by offering vegetables at lunch is that they should eat them. I think this lesson is more important than a little bit of food waste (believe me, kids throw away more than their vegetables). This is part of the learning process. What is the worst thing that could happen by not offering your children vegetables at lunch? They could grow up not eating vegetables regularly, choosing instead a diet filled with processed foods which can cause them to suffer from one or more of the many chronic diseases associated with diet.

Here's how you can encourage your kids to eat more vegetables by packing them in their lunches:

1. Discuss with your children the types of vegetables that they enjoy eating. Choose those vegetables to pack in their lunches.

2. Offer variety. Even a favorite vegetable can get old if eaten every day. Try cauliflower, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, baby-cut carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, zucchini, radishes or sugar snap peas. All of these vegetables are good raw. Many kids seem to prefer raw vegetables over cooked vegetables.

3. Offer a little bit of dip to make eating vegetables more enjoyable. Use a mini container and fill it with a small amount of ranch dressing, hummus, tzatziki, or other dip.

4. Start young. By the time your kids are ready to go to school, they are old enough to be eating vegetables daily at lunch.

5. Start small. Begin by offering a small snack bag of vegetables. Hopefully by the time your kids reach high school, they'll be eating a larger sandwich bag filled with vegetables.

6. Talk with your kids at home about what they ate for lunch. Ask them if they ate their vegetables. If they say no, gently encourage them to eat their vegetables (there are lots of good reasons for your kids to eat vegetables, an important reason is that you love them and want them to thrive).

7. Never give up. By offering vegetables to your children at lunch you are setting an example about what they are supposed to eat.

I have my own challenges in getting my children to eat their vegetables. My 13 year old daughter has been sick too much already this school year and I point out to her that she skimps on much of the healthy foods that I serve her. I'll keep trying because it is that important.


  1. Great points. I especially love the "Never Give Up" advice. Too many parents give up after one try. I am so thankful that my parents never gave up. Now I love everything!!

  2. It's easy. Putting veggies in your kid's lunchboxes is totally a great move. For it can give every kid an enough nutrition, vitamins, protein and carbohydrates everyday. We had an experience going to school, and we should need a lot of energy to do all things and activities. Also, we'll have fun too. I know it's not easy that kids will love to eat veggies but if we try our best, we can do it. =) By the way, you might like to try the new lunchbox? This lunchbox is really amazing for you can have a lot of benefits when you try it. You'll be able maintain your good health, be able lessen your expenses because it's durable and reusable. You can easily bring it anywhere, stack up to 4 different kinds of foods without needing to mix it, or you can eat your lunch pack at its best or while its hot even if you already made it four hours ago. =)