Lunch is an important meal for kindergartners. Research has shown that eating a nutritious lunch gives kids the energy and stamina to get through the rest of the day. This means being better able to focus on classwork and less likely to have emotional issues, along with other positive benefits. For parents, the need for a nutritious lunch can lead to a confusing foray into what is healthy, what is hype, and how to provide better meals without breaking the bank.
The downside of sending a grilled sandwich to school is that it will not be hot when lunchtime rolls around. On the plus side, however, kindergartners enjoy the taste of a grilled sandwich, and healthy choices abound. For instance, a grilled cheese is relatively healthy, and slipping a couple of pieces of tomato between slices of cheese and bread before grilling adds a nutritiously tasty variation to the already popular cheese sandwich.
Another area where fun, nutrition, and variety meet is the common burrito. Almost anything can be used as the filler for a rolled tortilla. Peanut butter and fruit is one example, but you can use any kind of lunch meat, and many children will be thrilled to get a spaghetti or ravioli burrito for their lunchbox. You can even make a vegetarian burrito out of lettuce, bean sprouts, and other garden-fresh vegetables.
Anytime you are having one of your child’s favorite dinners, why not set a little aside to be the perfect lunch for the following day? As with grilled sandwiches, the food will not be hot, but kindergartners are seldom bothered by such details, and many prefer their food to be cold before they begin to eat anyway. You could even send a bowl of salad with a side of dressing if your child likes the taste of a salad.
Snacks and Treats
No lunch is complete without dessert, and including a special snack will always earn a smile from the little ones. The trick is to find snack foods that your child enjoys without giving up the goal of a healthy meal. Some suggestions for that include coring an apple and filling the hole with peanut butter; sending slices of celery with a cream cheese filling; or healthful favorites such as dark chocolate covered apples, strawberries, or bananas.
Packing your child a healthy lunch can be fun as well. Make their lunch the night before, and allow your kindergartner to get hands-on and help you in the process by putting condiments on bread, filling a zip-top plastic bag with grapes, or packing the individual packages as you get them prepared. When you include your child in making their own lunches, they will get a sense of pride in their lunch and may be more likely to eat the whole thing.
At Mission Valley Montessori, we encourage parents to incorporate their kindergartner into the learning process at home as well, through hands-on activities such as preparing lunch. Montessori education encourages children to learn at their own pace, while being guided by older students. To learn more, contact us today!