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.
• 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
• 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