Be sure to pack nutrition when you prepare your child’s sack lunch.
Sending lunch to school with your child can seem like an easy and less-expensive alternative to school-provided meals, particularly if you’re dealing with food allergies or a picky eater. Packing lunches also allows you to avoid oversize portions often offered in school cafeterias. However, Houston researchers recently found that lunches brought from home often contain fewer fruits, vegetables, meats, and whole grains than federal nutrition standards recommend.
Try these healthy lunch ingredients to get your child’s brown bag lunch back on track.
- Whole-wheat bread: Sandwiches are a lunchtime staple, but choose whole-grain bread or tortillas over white bread that often contains high amounts of sodium.
- Vegetables: If your child likes to have something crunchy in his or her lunch, pack celery or carrot sticks instead of potato chips to avoid fat and empty calories.
- Fresh fruits: Rather than packing cookies or snack cakes, which are high in refined sugar, include fruits like apple slices, grapes, or peeled oranges as a sweet treat for the end of your child’s meal.
If you have more questions about your child’s nutrition, ask your pediatrician.