School is starting soon and has started in some cities. What should you pack for your kids’ lunch? What are some of the more healthier options? In Japan, they have these cool lunch packaging containers with compartments for essentially each food group. When packing a kids’ lunch keep MyPlate in mind.
- 2 fruits/veggies – yes, 2 servings – one of each is good or 2 fruits, 2 veggies – carrot and celery sticks, a juice box and an apple
- Grains – whole grains are best but it is often not easy to get a child to like whole grains. They do have whole grain white bread or whole grain crackers. They even have whole grain Goldfish.
- Dairy – if it can be kept cold, yogurt is a great option as long as it is not the child’s versions loaded with added sugar and artificial flavorings. Or have your child buy milk at school.
- Protein – lean meats, peanut butter, 2% cheeses.
MSN, Healthy Foods That are Perfect for School Lunch, had some great suggestions for healthier kid lunch options. They noted too many kids are filling up on “empty” calories rather than calories packed with nutrients. Here are some of their suggestions:
- Happy Squeeze Apple, Kale, and Mango – so many parents stuff some applesauce in a child’s lunch. While applesauce can be healthy, too many options are loaded with sugar. These squeeze packs are 100% whole fruit and some kale. Kids get fruit and a vegetable in one pouch.
- Organic Beef Hot Dog – hot dogs have a bad wrap because of the nitrates and nitrates they often contain. These hot dogs have no antibiotics, no fillers, and are not high in sodium.
- Peanut Butter is a healthy choice and for kids without a peanut allergy a good choice. MSN recommends SunButter Organic Sunflower Spread. This spread is made with sunflower seeds and isn’t loaded with sugar. It is also allergy-friendly as it doesn’t contain nuts.
- Water – some parents think water is the healthiest choice for a beverage. But a child needs dairy. If yogurt is packed in a lunch, then the beverage can be a juice box or water. Hint Pineapple Water is a fun choice to pack, a hint of flavor without the added sugar and artificial flavors.
- Nature’s Own Double Fiber Wheat Bread – getting a child to eat any food that is whole grain is a challenge. This is one bread they may be willing to try. It is also a healthier choice in that it is free of high fructose corn syrup, has no artificial colors or flavors and no artificial preservatives.
- Cheese sticks – a fun way to get in some dairy and a good source of protein. Reduced fat Sargento cheese sticks are a great choice. Each cheese stick offers calcium and protein. The Sargento Cheese Stick brand has no additives.
So when packing your child’s lunch this school year, include some healthier options.