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Now the school year has started, parents also have many more responsibilities. Do you find yourself stressing over your child's lunch? We have some ideas for you.

School-aged children need a healthy and balanced diet that includes food from all food groups and sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals to maintain their health, but also to be able to concentrate on all the things they are learning. 

A good breakfast sets a child up for the day, and home-cooked family dinners offer a bonding opportunity as the chance to ensure that the whole family gets the nutrition they need. But how about lunch, that one meal your kid is going to eat at school?

Many parents will have the choice between high-fat, low-nutrient cafeteria meals, pre-packaged products from the grocery store, or a healthy lunched prepared and packed at home. The good news is that the option that is clearly best does not have to take a lot of your time. 

Nutrients Your Child Needs

Whatever lunch options you prepare, try to make sure that they contain the essential nutrients your child needs. Carbohydrates and healthy fats help the brain to function optimally, and they improve the child's mood, too. 

Protein builds and maintains a healthy body, and while proteins can be found in many vegetable sources, meat and dairy are the go-to proteins for many people. Look out for foods that are rich in calcium (milk, sardines, tofu) and iron (meat and leafy green veggies). 

Adding a handful of walnuts, chia seeds, or pumpkin seeds to your child's lunch will boost his intake of essential fatty acids, which improve school performance.

Studies have even shown that sufficient essential fatty acid intake improves reading ability in dyslectic students!

Since the school week lasts five days, we've prepared five healthy and balanced packed lunch ideas for you. 

Bite-Sized Veggies With A Dip

If you have ever tried to take a dressed salad to work in a lunch box? You'll know that it goes soggy in no time. Besides that, most kids are either not naturally inclining to eat classical salads or will be pressured into not eating by their peers.

Bite-sized cut veggies look a lot more kid-friendly, and can be eaten with fingers. 

A handful of cherry tomatoes, a small cucumber, some baby carrots, celery sticks and a boiled egg or two for added protein will look extremely cute together. This combination will give your child a balanced, veggie-rich lunch, and it will take you less than 10 minutes to prepare. 

To make this lunch a lot more appealing, make to sure to provide a dip to go along with it in a small plastic container (Tupperware or similar). Easy dips use mayonnaise as a base. You can add yogurt, sour cream, blue cheese, some balsamic vinegar, a few chopped spring onions and some salt and pepper. Instead, you could simply opt for sour cream, minced onions, and salt. 

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