Pack More Nutrition into Lunches for Kids

The best way to ensure your kids get a healthy lunch is to make it.  Here are some tips for packing more nutrition into their lunch boxes.

Sandwich Do’s:

• use fresh whole-wheat or multi-grain breads
• buy organic uncured lunch meats and cheeses
• buy natural peanut butter (contains no added sugar or hydrogenated oils, aka “trans fat”)
• limit canned tuna for children due to mercury
• add tomato or fresh greens
• use low fat mayo or other spreads
• be conscious of portions.  Kids don’t need an overstuffed sandwich – one slice of meat and/or cheese, or 1 Tb. peanut butter, is enough.

For something different, try some of these non-sandwich ideas:
• quesadillas or wraps using whole grain tortillas.  Hummus wraps are great too!
• fish sticks packed in tupperware
• corn dogs
• homemade pizza – make it for dinner and send leftovers to school

Snacks and sides:
• fresh fruit and/or vegetable, such as carrots, celery sticks, cucumber and bell peppers.
• low fat chips, pretzels and crackers – preferably a whole-grain version
• raw nuts (use reduced salt, if roasted)
• yogurt, low fat cottage cheese
• granola bars (not the candy bar versions!)
• oatmeal raisin cookies and fig newtons

Drinks:
• water is best! (go green with reusable containers instead of plastic throw away bottles)
• milk (organic, low fat or skim milk after age 2)
• no artificial sweeteners
• “100% fruit juice” is still high in sugar and calories and should not be consumed frequently

About Susan Greeley
Helping others achieve optimal health through good nutrition and lifestyle, Susan Greeley promotes wellness through diets rich in healthy, wholesome foods. She counsels clients in her own private nutrition practice and works as the staff nutritionist for a YMCA.

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