AUSTIN (KXAN) — Now that most kids are back in school, a lot of parents are busy in the morning getting a lunch packed for them. The questions of “What to pack?” and “Will your kid eat it?” is something dietitians offer advice on all the time.
Maria Bohland, a dietitian with Heart Hospital of Austin, said the food she sees kids eating best are grab-and-go items.
“Things like cheese and crackers, grapes, apple slices, carrots with ranch dressing, small portions that are easy for kids to take one bite and easily eat.”
Bohland says for busy parents, cutting up a bunch of items might not be possible because of a lack in time. Several grocery stores now offer packaged fresh, cut up foods to cut down on prep time.
And for kids who demand a little dessert, Bohland says look for lower calorie, low sugar options.
“I would recommend some type of pudding or Jell-O,” Bohland said. “Jell-O is a good dessert, it’s lower in calories, however it does have collagen, so it’s good for kids and their hair. Even yogurt-covered raisins are good. There’s a compound in raisins that helps boost your energy in the afternoon, so raisins are good snack food.”
For the picky eater in the family, foods that have vitamins and minerals added can be a healthy option.
“I would stress if you can have your child consume at least one healthy food a day, even if they are picky. So if they like orange juice, get a fortified version, if they like a cereal that’s higher in sugar, make sure to get a fortified version of it.”
Bohland says if you like to look at labels, concentrate on the carbohydrates and sugar and avoid anything that has more than 20 grams. Instead look for something with 15 grams or less of carbohydrates and sugars.