• Packing Healthy Lunches

  • Packing a healthy lunch for your kids is important to give them the nutrition and energy they need to stay alert and attentive throughout the day.

    Healthy lunches don't have to be hard, and with some planning and smart grocery purchases, you'll be on the right track for the entire school year.

    A great reminder for parents is to remember your kids tastes are built on what you feed them. If they are eating sugary, processed foods, that's what they'll crave. But, if we feed them healthy, whole foods, they will enjoy a variety of foods and make smarter food choices throughout their lifetime. Avoid as many pre-packaged foods as possible, and when you do use them, select organic items which tend to have less sugar, salt, nitrites and other fillers.

    We also recommend taking time to pack lunch together with younger children, then as they get older they are prepared to pack their own healthy lunches. 

    Below are a variety of items you can use when packing family lunches.

    Main Entree Ideas - The main lunch item is important and should be high in protein, low in fat and be tasty so they'll be anxious to eat all of it. Try:

    • Greek Yogurt . Greek yogurt is high in protein, so works as a main lunch item. Ideally, use 6 ounces of the plain with fresh cut fruit or Simply Fruit Black Cherry Preserves as a topping. There are a variety of brands that offer fruit with the yogurt as well. For a non-sweet option, add 1 teaspoon Simply Organic French Onion Dip seasoning to 6 ounces of plain yogurt with carrot sticks to dip.
    • Hummus with Pretzels.  Hummus is another protein packed item, and kids typically like it when they try it. Pair with low-salt pretzels and veggies for dipping.
    • Sandwich Thins. Most stores now sell multigrain, thin sandwich buns that taste great. Spread with low-fat mayo or hummus, then add egg salad, tuna salad or chicken salad and cut in quarters.
    • Cookie Cutter Sandwich. Make an almond butter and honey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Then cut out with a favorite shaped cookie cutter.
    • Roll Ups. Spread light cream cheese or hummus and layer with turkey and fresh spinach. Roll and cut in slices.

    Side Item Ideas   - Keep these servings smaller, so your child doesn't eat them in place of the main item.

    • Fresh Fruits: Apples, bananas, pears and other fruits are a perfect addition and come in their own packaging.
    • Rice Crackers with Cheese: Rice crackers (Blue Diamond is a good brand) with light Laughing Cow cheese are an excellent combination. One small round of the cheese will be enough for four to eight crackers.
    • Snack Mix: Mix up a homemade snack mix with some of their favorites including dried fruits, low-salt pretzels, cereal and nuts.
    • Instead of Chips: Don't use small pre-packaged bags of chips. Instead purchase an organic brand chip or cracker, and fill a snack sized back with 4 to 8 chips or crackers. Organic brands are typically lower in sodium and don't contain genetically modified grains. Chips and crackers aren't terribly nutritious so remember portion control.

    Dessert - Desserts are ok, just pack smaller portions of items that are made with whole ingredients and avoid items with artificial sweeteners.

    • Puddings: Kozy Shack Puddings are healthier pre-packed puddings made with real ingredients and only about 120 calories each.
    • Canned Fruits: Peaches or pears packed in light syrup are a sweet treat.
    • Cookies and Treats: Cookies and other treats are ok, but pack one instead of multiple.

    Drinks - Avoid sugary drinks.

    • Milk: Milk is important for growing kids! They can often buy milk at school or brands like Horizon Organics sells regular, vanilla and chocolate milks in boxes that can be taken to school.
    • Instead of Juice:  Make a homemade "Arnold Palmer" mixing unsweetened iced tea with a little bit of lemonade in a thermos or water bottle.

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