Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids

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On 02/06/2012 05:14:44

 

Fill Your Child’s Lunch Box with Delicious and Nutritious Foods

Boys Town Pediatrics

During the busy school year, the most important task many parents tend to forget is planning nutritious, yet delicious lunches for their child to take to school, according to Boys Town Pediatrics.

One of the biggest problems with lunches packed at home is the high fat, sugar and sodium content found in most lunch items from the grocery store. Not to mention the lack of fruit, vegetables and whole grains in most lunchboxes.

Try not to fall into the convenient trap of always including pre-processed packaged foods in your child’s lunch such as chips, cookies, cupcakes, and other snack foods. Instead, think ahead and put together individual baggies filled with nutritious and tasty foods at the beginning of each week that you can grab from the fridge or cupboard and place into your child’s lunchbox. A few good ideas include baggies filled with:

  • Grapes, strawberries, oranges, melon, etc. Freeze fruits in the summer for variety during the winter months.
  • Carrots, celery, broccoli, etc.
  • A blend of dried fruits, such as raisins, apple rings, banana chips. Add a few of your child’s favorite low-sodium nuts.
  • Low sodium pretzels, baked chips, low-fat cheese crackers, nuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Even the sandwich you pack for your child can be high in fat and sodium if you are not careful. Be sure to make a healthy sandwich by using:

Whole grain bread instead of white bread – for variety, use a whole grain bagel or pita pocket.

Low-fat lunch meats from the deli counter such as turkey breast, chicken breast, ham, bologna or roast beef, are much lower in fat than the pre-packaged kind.

Look for meats that are at least 95% fat-free.

Low-fat or fat free cheese – regular cheese is the second leading source of saturated fat in kids’ diets. You could skip the cheese altogether and pack low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese or calcium-fortified orange juice to obtain a significant source of calcium.

Mayonnaise in moderation – better yet, use reduced fat mayo, salad dressing or margarine. Mustard is an even wiser choice with no fat or calories.

Veggies – add nutritional value to your child’s sandwich by stacking on a slice of cucumber, romaine lettuce, pepper, tomato, or shredded carrots.

Keep your child’s lunch interesting by packing a variety of foods. Don’t pack sweets every day. Instead, pick a particular day each week (Friday’s are always good) to pack a surprise treat like chips, cookies or a cupcake. Or, give your child some change one day each week to buy a treat from the school cafeteria.

 

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