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What Grade Would You Give Your Child’s Lunch Box?

October 18, 2011

Now that school is back in session, have you given thought to what’s in your child’s lunch box?  I recently attended Meet the Teacher night at my daughter’s elementary school.  One of the first topics the teacher spoke about was lunch and snack options!  Not math, science, English or social studies but FOOD!  It struck me as funny at first, but I was so pleased at the message she was giving to the parents.  “Please don’t send in sugary snacks and candy” was Mrs. B’s plea!  “The kids bounce off the walls and it’s nearly impossible to teach them”.  Yes, I smiled to myself but at the same time I wondered how many parents would comply.

School is where children learn, expand their knowledge and grow as individuals.  In order for your kids to excel they need to eat the right foods for energy so that they can stay focused in class.

In reality, it may be difficult for you to have much control over what and how much your child eats in school if they buy their lunch in the school cafeteria or even swap their lunch for their friends less healthy option. For these reasons it is important that you spice up your child’s lunch box so that they WANT to eat the lunch you packed for them!

A healthy and appealing lunch box consists of a variety of foods from the different food groups (fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains and dairy). Include colorful foods of different shapes and sizes (ie: use cookie cutters on sandwiches). Children enjoy bite size food and foods that they can dip so incorporate these options into their lunch box.

Here are some lunch and snack ideas that your kids will love!

Lunch:

  • Mini whole wheat bagel with tuna fish (canned in water) made with light mayonnaise. Add chopped celery and carrots for a nutrient boost and to add color so it is visually appealing.
  • Fruit, vegetable or cheese kabobs.  Use blunt toothpicks or small thin straws for young children.
  • Turkey and cheese roll ups: Golden turkey breast rolled up with half a slice of American cheese.  Pack a few whole grain crackers for some crunch.
  • Almond butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread. Use a cookie cutter to create fun shapes out of the sandwich!
  • Chicken salad made with light mayonnaise. Similar to the tuna fish, add chopped celery and red grapes to enhance the taste and nutrient content

 Snacks:

  • Fruit salad: Cut up and mix together an assortment of fresh fruit such as grapes, blueberries, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries and apples.
  • Baby carrots (one serving size is about 6)
  • Celery with a side of peanut butter (about 1-2 tablespoons)
  • Cut up veggies with a side of light ranch dressing (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Low fat cheese stick
  • Dried fruit such as apples, apricots, blueberries and raisins
  • Applesauce cups
  • Low fat yogurt with granola
  • Whole grain crackers with hummus

 Its’ a great idea to sit down with your kids and come up with several lunch and snack options and write them down.  Then, each Sunday night, you can discuss what he/she would like for the coming week.  This will help with your shopping list, and your child will be part of the decision making!   They just might be more likely to eat it if they helped plan it!

Oh, and don’t let me forget about beverages!  Milk is a great addition to your child’s lunch box for an extra dose of calcium.  And, water, water, water!  Skip the fake fruit punches which is more sugar than fruit! 

 Let me know how this is working out for you.

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bonkels permalink
    October 19, 2011 5:09 pm

    Excellent article, Excellent advice.

    You must be an expert in your field.

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