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Healthy choices to pack for school lunches

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Another summer gone 

Summer vacation has come to a close and children are back to homework, reading, recess and lunch in the cafeteria. As most parents are busy with work, activities, and family it’s often a pain to prepare a healthy lunch for children to take to school. It may even be more difficult to get kids to eat things that are good for them. Here are some easy tips on packing a well-balanced lunch for kids that they will enjoy!

 


3-5 serving of veggies is reccomended per day 

Try milk instead of soda and juice
Many kids don’t like plain milk, but even chocolate milk is a better substitute than soda and sugary juices. Have your child buy a carton of milk from school or pack a bottle of “milk chug” (small bottles of milk for on the go), which can be bought in stores!

Use Whole Wheat bread
Whole wheat bread contains many nutrients that are essential for growing children. According to the FDA, “diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.” Be sure to check the nutrition facts and make sure the product says “whole wheat.” Breads labeled as just “wheat” and “white” have little to no nutritional value.

Incorporate veggies and fruits
Not all kids love their fruits and veggies, but by packing some dried fruits like raisins or cherries can make the good foods more appealing. Try cutting up some apples or packing grapes with yogurt or peanut butter as a dipping sauce. For those veggies, cut up carrots and pack some dill dip or light ranch dressing.
 


Lunchables are VERy high in salt content

Skip the Lunchables
Packing a Lunchable may be an easy way to save time and are a pleasure for kids to create their own meal, but these delicious lunches do not really have any nutritional value. Studies show that Lunchables contain very high amounts of sodium, more than the recommended amount for adults. Many doctors believe that this product should have a warning label! Instead, make a sandwich using turkey and cheese. Try to eliminate bologna as well, as it is very high in fat.
 

Pack a thermos of soup
As those cold winter days approach, it may be a nice option to send a steaming thermos of veggie soup to school with your child. This option will incorporate those veggies your child needs and is also a good option instead of sandwiches day after day!

Some other healthy options to pack in are string cheese, tortilla chips with salsa, peanut butter sandwiches with bananas, pita bread, graham crackers, and nuts. Be sure to portion the meal correctly. Remember, children don’t need as much food as adults!

 

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