"My son doesn't have enough time to eat his lunch!"
He’s so not alone. Across the country, kids are being forced to wolf down their lunch in record time — despite studies that show how unhealthy these truncated mealtimes are. Until schools come to their senses, here’s how you can make sure your kid gets his fill:
Speed the Process
- Pack — don’t buy — lunch. The time it takes to go through the cafeteria line should be spent eating.
- Think thin. Wraps and thin sliced bread make sandwiches easier to eat. Serve a combination of protein and fruits or veggies so kids get balanced nutrition in each bite. Turkey or roast beef with lettuce is great, but hummus with sliced veggies or peanut butter with sliced apples is also a good option.
- Be smart about drinks. It’s much easier to slurp down calories than it is to chew them. So pack a sweet smoothie or a drinkable yogurt instead of other snacks.
Avoid Slowdowns: Although these foods can be healthy, they just take too long to eat:
- Munchies: Foods your child eats by the handful (like popcorn or raisins) take longer to eat than foods they bite.
- Interactive nibbles: Skip the dips and DIY cheese and crackers.
- Hard to chew foods: Thick slices of meat take longer to chew. Similarly, carrot sticks require more effort than, say, yogurt.