Thanks to Anthem Blue Cross, who sponsored the campaign, for including dads in this important discussion about family health care. My views are based solely on my experience as a parent, and not as a medical professional.It all goes back to Mrs. Garcia. Many people have asked how I got started making fun lunches for my daughter. This one Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Garcia, changed the way I thought about my daughter's lunches, and in turn our family's health. She challenged us as parents to give more thought to school lunches than just juice boxes, cookies, and chips. I had already decided to make fun lunches for my daughter once a week, but this request added an extra layer of difficulty. I wasn't immediately thrilled.
A funny thing happened, however. As I struggled to make the school lunches as healthy and balanced as I could, my daughter started eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The process then started to become easier and easier. We looked for produce on sale at the store and whole wheat became the normal bread to use. As it turns out, making healthier school lunches wasn't that difficult after all, it just took a change of mindset. This mindset change ended up affecting our whole family. Here's a quick video showing how my family has fun and works on our health at the same time.
You can make your own #HealthyDad video and enter to win $100 gift card by posting it on the Healthy Dad Facebook page. You can find all the details HERE.
Soon after making these lunches, we started looking at how the whole family was eating and made choices to improve our health. We even looked at how to make eating healthier an easy thing. As a busy parent in a family on the go, being healthy has to be convenient. Most parents don't have much extra time and they need quick and simple solutions to their issues. Here are 3 simple tips we came up with to make packing healthy school lunches easier:
1. Prep what you can at the beginning of the week. Many fresh fruits and vegetables can be cut up and prepared on Sunday to be used throughout the week. When you cut them up all at once, it saves time during busy nights later in the week.
2. Move dinner leftovers directly into lunchboxes for the next day. If you have extra grilled chicken and rice, don't just put it away, pack it in your child's lunchbox immediately. When you clean up dinner, you might as well skip the middleman and make their lunch at the same time!
3. If fresh fruits and vegetables aren't available, use dried fruit with no added sugar. Dried fruit is tasty and very convenient to pack in lunches. Some brands have added sugar, so skip those varieties and use all-natural ones.
Another simple way to improve your health is by having a health insurance that understands that busy parents need flexible options that adjust to your schedule. Anthem wants to help. Sometimes you need help right away so they offer family friendly options like LiveHealth Online which gives you expert advice using your computer or mobile device. They also have a 24/7 NurseLine to help in situations like your toddler having a fever at 3 am. Not that that ever happens to parents. They also have many other options for busy parents like us.
Anthem wants to help us be healthy parents and healthy families. So remember to look for easy ways to make school lunches healthier, try to exercise, and check out the Healthy Dad Facebook page for even more inspiration and to win the #HealthyDad video contest they are currently running!