Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Make your kids school lunches that pack more of a creative punch

The school year is in full swing and you may already be at a loss for creative lunch ideas for your child – peanut butter and jelly can only go so far.

The added challenge of a picky eater may make this task even more daunting.
But there are ways to ease your nighttime routine of packing lunch and even provide an opportunity for your child to try new foods.

If children are of school age, they are old enough to help in the lunch making routine. Getting children involved in meal preparation provides them an opportunity to make decisions around food choices. Give them two to three healthy options for meal or snack choices. Teach them to make a sandwich. If they play a role in preparing the food, they are more likely to eat it.

Start off on the right foot by choosing a lunch bag that is insulated, and use a freezer pack to keep the cold foods cold and an insulated food jar (like a Thermos) to keep the hot foods hot. Food safety is important, and keeping the foods at the right temperature can go a long way toward preventing a food born illness.

Consider the following suggestions when packing the next lunch:

 Whole grain breads, wraps and pitas. Consider whole grain white.
 Healthy protein sources such as tuna salad with light mayo, egg salad on whole grain, peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter with 100% fruit spread or sliced bananas or apples in a wrap.
 Sliced turkey, ham or chicken with mustard or light mayo and a slice of cheese.
 Vegetarian sources may include hummus (bean dip), cheese and hard boiled eggs.
 Sliced apples with peanut butter or almond butter.
 Fresh fruit or fruit salad with low fat vanilla yogurt as a dip.
 String cheese.
 Whole grain snack crackers or pretzels.
 Dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries or apples slices.
 Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews.
 Cold pasta salad.
 Baby carrots, sliced bell peppers and snap peas with low-fat dressing for dip.
 Edamame (soy bean in the pod). My kids love ‘em!
 Low fat yogurt.

Don’t rule out leftovers from dinner. Take out the thermos and give your child a break from sandwiches. Great meals for a hot lunch include chili, stir fry, pasta meals and soups.

Wendy Kane is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes education in the Backus Hospital Diabetes Management Center. This advice should not replace the advice from your physician. Email Ms. Kane and all the Healthy Living columnists at healthyliving@wwbh.org or comment on their blog at healthydocs.blogspot.com.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?