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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pack Healthy School Lunches With Super Foods

School has started or will soon be starting across the land.  How can you pack lunches that are not only healthy but contain some super foods?   Kaiser Permanente recently published, 8 Superfoods to Pack in Your Child's Lunch.  Why are these Super Foods?  For one, these foods are loaded with nutrients.  Thus, even a small serving packs a big nutrition boost.   Second, since they are packed with nutrients these foods fuel your child’s body and their brains.  So what are the 8 Super Foods?          
   
      1.  Berries – all berries are super healthy foods.  They are full of vitamins like vitamin C which can help fight off infections and they have a lot of antioxidants. 
  • Serve berries at breakfast by adding them to oatmeal, dry cereal, a smoothie.
  • Pack in a lunch box with some yogurt or in a container for your child to add to yogurt, a salad or to eat a handful with their lunch.   
      2. Eggs a great source of protein, the egg yolk provides iron and eggs provide lecithin which helps your child’s memory and helps them concentrate in class. 
  • Serve some scrambled eggs mixed with cheese for a protein and calcium boost at breakfast.
  • Pack a hard boiled egg in their lunch.    
3.       Whole grains – so many kids are not only lacking in whole grains, many are getting no whole grains at all.  Packing whole grains in a child’s lunch is a sure way to boost their nutrition.  Whole grains are rich source of B vitamins, many trace minerals and fiber.  Whole grains are a way to give your child lasting energy throughout the afternoon. 
  • Breakfast – serve some whole grain cereal like oatmeal, whole grain waffles, whole grain toast, whole grain English muffin.
  • Lunch – make a sandwich with whole grain bread, whole grain bagel, whole grain pita bread.  Include some whole grain crackers like Triscuits.  If your child likes chips, pack some whole grain chips like Sun Chips.                                  
  4.  Beans – although they are packed with nutrition, they may not be a favorite for your kids.  But many kids who won’t eat beans, will eat hummus.  Beans are loaded with protein, B vitamins, fiber and iron.  Iron is important for children’s brains and to help fight off infections.
  • Send some hummus with cut up vegetables   
5.       Avocados – people may not think of avocados as a super food but they are a great source of vitamins and the mineral, potassium.  They also have healthy fats which are good for hearts.
  • Include as a dip, add a slice to salads or sandwiches.  
6.       Nuts – the health fats in nuts promote brain development.  Check with your school to see what their policy is on nuts as some schools and lunch rooms are nut-free. 
  • Nuts – pack in a snack bag, pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or an almond butter sandwich.  
7.       Nonfat yogurt – yogurt provides protein, probiotics, and calcium for strong bones.  It doesn’t have to be Greek yogurt.  Find a flavor your child likes.
  • Pack a container of yogurt, use yogurt to make a smoothie, pack it for snack time.  
8.       Vegetables – Children should have at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day and many are falling short.  Including vegetables in lunch is a great way to help your child get “5 A Day”.  Dark green and dark orange vegetables are loaded with Vitamin A (carotene) which is great for eyesight.  Vegetables are low in calories and provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Veggies are a great way to add color to your child’s lunch. 
  •  Carrot sticks, celery sticks, even green pepper, red pepper slices.  Add to salads, serve with low fat Ranch dressing.
 When packing your kid’s lunch this school year, add some Super Foods to their lunch bag.


School Lunch Box

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