Rainbow Picnic Salad in a Mason Jar

Back to school is the time to address that ever frustrating question of what to pack your kids to ensure they’re getting a healthy lunch. We all know that it’s key to provide their young bodies with the nutrients they need to grow and develop and this means getting enough fruits and vegetables, but doing this in the limited time you have can be difficult. Here are some tips to pack a nutrient rich lunch for your children, while also making the most of your time:

  1. Provide Fruits and Vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are an easy way to pack a lot of the nutrients that your kiddos need into a meal. It is recommended that half your plate should be composed of fruits and vegetables, but there are fun ways to do this!

  1. Pair it with Dressings.

Pair your fruits and veggies with something like a dip or dressing. Salad dressing is comprised of oils like soybean and canola, which help to better absorb nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E and folate from leafy green vegetables.

People typically think of the traditional salad when it comes to adding veggies to a dish. If you want to go this route, consider trying a salad in a mason jar! The dressing goes at the bottom of the container and mixed vegetables and toppings go on top to keep everything as fresh as possible.

Another option is to give kids something to dunk. Pair celery sticks or carrots and broccoli with your favorite salad dressing. A great thing about this option is that you can prepare everything for the entire week in one night. Read on for more on this “trick”.

  1. Prepare in Advance.

Save your sanity by preparing lunches in advance. This will help you save time and it also makes it easier to ensure that what you’re packing is healthy and not just easy. When it comes to salad dressings, keep it on the side. There are tons of containers to keep your salad dressing separated until the last minute. This will keep all of your vegetables fresh and crisp.

Whatever you choose to serve, keep your kids interested by switching up the daily lunch. Eat a rainbow of vegetables.  It’s important to eat several different types of vegetables so packing multiple veggies to dunk will keep kids from getting bored of the same thing and will get them a variety of nutrients. You can also switch between something like a salad one day and carrot sticks the next.   Don’t forget the fruit, which also provides variety.

Written by the Association for Dressings and Sauces

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