Packing lunchbox beverages can be a struggle. Kid’s like to open their lunchbox to find the highly flavored sugary drinks often seen in popular advertisements, while parents would rather pack healthier beverages options like water or milk. This is a common household stand-off and, as in most instances, the parents are right. What kids drink during lunchtime is important, their drink needs to replenish and rehydrate them after an active morning. Whatever beverage is packed in their lunchbox should not be an onslaught of pure sugar that merely provides a quick sugar rush and brings them crashing down an hour later. So, where is the happy medium between the fun flavors kid like and the nutritional benefit parent’s prefer? Here are five ways you can pack healthy lunchbox beverages for your kids:
1. When in Doubt, Water it Down: Fill your child’s water bottle with half water and half juice. In most cases kids won’t even notice you’ve done this, adding water hardly dilutes the taste of strongly flavored juices. However, it does cut the calories and sugar content.
2. Look for Organic Labels: When deciding which beverages to buy look for labels that read “Organic” and “All-Natural.” Read the fine print on the packaging to check that high fructose corn syrup is not the first ingredient listed. By narrowing your search to beverages made from organic, natural ingredients you’re already sending your child to school with a healthier drink. Fresh squeezed juices from local orchards are often found in the deli section and can be an exceptionally healthy option.
3. Keep Portions in Control: Elementary School age children do not need to be drinking liters of liquids at lunch. Teach them portion control early by packing one juice box or milk carton and then telling them to drink water after that. This way they’ll begin to learn to moderate their juice intake.
4: Pack Refillables: Simple bpa-free plastic waterbottles can be found at the supermarket and are perfect for lunchboxes. Empower your child to drink water by packing an empty waterbottle in addition to their lunch drink. They can fill up their spare bottle at any water fountain for the walk home, the bus ride or before sports practice.
5. Don the Milk Moustache: When I say milk I mean regular, not chocolate. If you want to balance out fruit-based beverages agree upon one day each week when your child brings, or buys, milk at lunch. You might be surprised at how quickly it catches on.