Sometimes time is of the essence and you may find it hard to find time to plan healthy meals in advance for your children. Healthy foods can be convenient, too. And while you may sometimes find that buying individual portions costs more, the convenience and portion control they provide may be worth the price. So, follow these tips to practice your multi-tasking and planning skills, which will help you prepare healthy meals, including lunches, even when you are strapped for time.
- Create a healthy lunch plan for the week and have all of those items on hand. This way you avoid the stress of "What am I going to pack today?"
- Pre-chop fruits and vegetables in the beginning of the week. Try these other ideas for stocking a heart-healthy fridge.
- Place food portions for meals in bags or containers ahead of time: things like crackers, fruits, low-fat cheese portions, whole-grain goldfish, etc.
- Buy individual portions of healthy items such as yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat cheese sticks, raisins, unsweetened applesauce, fruit cups packed in juice, or fruit leathers made with 100-percent real fruit.
- Use frozen vegetables and fruits in a pinch if running low on fresh produce.
- Use leftovers from the night before and place in container with separate compartments, if applicable.
- Make lunch while you are making another meal, like breakfast in the morning or dinner the night before.
The bottom line is you can help your children lower their risk for heart disease by living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Find out what works for you and your children and stick with the changes you make. Stay inspired by reading recipes, trying new foods and activities and continuing to seek healthy lifestyle ideas from health professionals, friends and online sources.
- Use a reusable, colorful water bottle or thermos and fill with water or fruit water. It is less expensive than buying bottled water, it makes drinking water a bit more fun and it's a no-brainer when you're packing lunches.