Lunch Time, Kids! How to Pack a Healthy School Lunch
The school bus is coming…. do you know what your children will be eating for lunch?
Do you know what to pack in those cute lunch boxes to help your child to be healthy, to have consistent energy, to enjoy fresh, whole foods, and to eat in a way that keeps your child at an appropriate weight?
The Magic Formula For a Healthy School Lunch
“Protein and Two Produce” – Remember this phrase and you will succeed in creating a healthy lunch
Protein (get one of these into every meal – this is what will give your child lasting energy and make him/her feel full and satisfied)
peanut butter (or other nut butter such as almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter)
nuts and seeds
lunch meat (preferably nitrate-free and preservative-free)
beans and legumes, hummus
leftover meat or fish from dinner
Produce (choose two of these – aim for one fruit and one vegetable – at least one fresh)
Apple, Pear, Orange, Melon Chunks, Berries, Banana, Mango Chunks
Fruit cup (get the real fruit ones, not the jello or creamy ones) or Dried Fruit (1/4 cup serving)
Carrots, Celery, Cucumber, Peppers, Sugar Snap Peas, Cherry Tomatoes, Cauliflower or Broccoli florets
Extra (one or two servings depending on your child’s true energy needs – think about how much energy your child needs to maintain a healthy weight )
bread (sandwich thins, pita pockets, or whole wheat tortilla wraps up the “fun” factor)
small treat or dessert (one cookie, piece of dark chocolate or three chocolate kisses, small box of raisins, tiny portion of chips)
skim milk or water – definitely best choices, juice is totally unnecessary in a child’s diet – eat whole fruit instead
Lunch Box Ideas in the Real World
- Peanut butter and jelly on a whole wheat tortilla rolled up and wrapped in waxed paper, carrot sticks, sliced apples with a squirt of lemon to maintain color, 6-8 ounces of skim milk in a Thermos, and one small homemade chocolate chip cookie
- Turkey slices with mustard on whole wheat sandwich thin bread, cucumber slices, peeled whole orange, small water bottle, and 100 calorie portion of a snack (mini cookies or chips)
- Soup in Thermos, 6 whole grain crackers, whole pear or apple, handful of sugar snap peas, two Dove dark chocolates, money to purchase milk
Raise the bar! Plan ahead when you grocery shop to have enough fresh produce on hand to create healthy lunches for your children. The reward is very sweet…..healthy children!