With school starting, school lunches are back on parents’ "to do" lists. Packing a sack lunch is one way to ensure that your child will have a nutritious mid-day meal, and even a healthy snack or two. Good nutrition is essential for your child to have a productive day at school. Here are some great ideas for healthy lunches.
Instead of a sandwich on white bread, bag of chips, and cookies, try some of the following healthy (and more interesting) items for your child’s lunch box:
- "Ants on a Log" — crunchy celery, peanut butter and chewy raisins or dried cherries
- Sliced apples (use lemon or orange juice to keep them from browning) with peanut butter. Almond or cashew butter can be used instead.
- Mini carrots or jicama cut into strips served with light or fat free ranch dressing for dipping
- Trail mix (nuts, dried fruit, whole grain dry cereal, popcorn, stick pretzels)
- Cereal. Make it high in fiber (5 grams or more per serving) and low in sugar (under 10 grams per serving). Provide container with a top and a spoon; your child can add low fat milk purchased at school.
- Kiwi cut in half (easy to scoop out with a spoon)
- Peanut butter and banana roll up — spread peanut butter on a soft tortilla and place half of a peeled banana sliced lengthwise in the middle and roll up
- Tuna or chicken salad with whole grain crackers
- Mini sub — use a hot dog bun and add turkey pepperoni, deli turkey and/or chicken breast, reduced fat or fat free cheese and shredded lettuce. Spread on mustard or pack a small container of your child’s favorite light or fat free salad dressing to pour on top at lunchtime.
- Spread a little peanut butter on a slice of homemade banana bread and top with a second slice of banana bread.
- Hot lunch idea — use mini penne or bowtie pasta. Just add some pasta sauce. Use a thermos after heating it up in the morning or just serve it cold (place an ice pack in lunch box though to prevent food illness).