Many people know pre-packaged lunch options are high in saturated fat and sodium, but how to fight the convenience and popularity with kids of those build-it-yourself cracker lunches? This school year, consider following the tips of Janice Cox, registered dietitian with Lunds, to create a healthier lunch that still has the allure of a Lunchable.Ø For pizza lovers, pack multigrain English muffins with small containers of spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese.Ø Flatbreads are good for making wraps, which Cox says can be loaded with fresh vegetables of your child’s choice.Ø Hungry for a simple sandwich? Try multigrain sandwich thins, and instead of adding mayo, try mashing up avocado to add moisture.Ø Serve your kids water or low-fat milk for a beverage, and watch out for energy drinks, as most are highly sweetened.Ø For dessert, Cox recommends Kashi cookies like the oatmeal raisin flax variety.Ø Pack crackers like Wheat Thins or Triscuits with a lean deli meat like turkey or ham and a cheese stick. By assembling yourself, you can control the saturated fat and sodium counts. Be sure to add fruit and vegetable, and voila—a well-rounded lunch! Cox notes baby carrots come individually packaged as do pre-sliced apples, so adding fruit and vegetables to a lunch can be very easy.Ø Cox recommends taking your kids to the grocery store with you so they can be involved in the process. If you end up at Lunds in Plymouth, the store has a nutrition scoring system located on the shelf tag next to the price. Each item is valued from one to 100—the higher the score, the more nutritious it is.Ø Practice each of these before sending your child off to school; they’ll be the popular kid at the lunch table with their creative, some-assembly-required lunch.&More tips from Janice Cox, registered dietitian at Lunds and Byerly’s.1. Consider food safety. Invest in an insulated lunch bag with cold packs to keep food cold and safe.2. Make sure you start the day with a good breakfast.3. Get kids involved, and take them grocery shopping to pick out healthy foods they agree to eat. Cox says each lunch should include a protein, grain, fruit, veggie and dairy item. Snack items are optional. Cox says kids and parents should collaborate to make a spreadsheet and agree to foods in each category. If a child is not going to eat broccoli, Cox suggests picking a vegetable they will eat, like carrots.4. Pack fresh fruit of any kind or unsweetened frozen fruit like cherries and berries. The fruit will thaw by lunchtime. Watch out for dried fruits, like yogurt covered raisins, Craisins and canned fruits in water pack, as they contain excess sugar.5. Avoid fruit roll-ups and fruit snacks—these are more like candy than fruit, and are simply excess sugar.
Healthy, Kid-approved Lunch Recipes from Lunds in Plymouth
Nutritious, kid-friendly recipes you’ll be proud to pack in the lunch box this year.