Packing More NUTRITIOUS School Lunches

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lunchboxAccording to a recent national online poll of parents, 43% of school children either eat a cafeteria lunch or purchase food from their schools’ vending machines or snack bar.  Six percent report that they are “not sure” what their children are eating for lunch.  Forty-nine percent bring a home-packed lunch to school, and we’re guessing that many of their parents take the time to prepare these lunches because they want to be “sure” that their children eat foods that are richer in nutrients and contain less salt, saturated fat and cholesterol.

If you pack school lunches, you may find yourself at a loss when it comes to finding foods that meet those criteria AND pass the your student’s “cafeteria test” for flavor.

Have you asked your kids what they would like to find in their lunchboxes?  Once you know, you can conduct a school lunch “makeover” that will make a big difference in the nutrition of their favorite foods.  Simple changes, such as using lower-fat deli meat like turkey, using whole grain bread, or dressing sandwiches with lite mayo or mustard, or opting for pre-packaged cups of fruit in natural juices instead of sugary syrup, can improve nutrition in terms of calories, saturated fats, sugar and other carbs, and fiber.

Including your children in the school lunch makeover is a good opportunity to introduce them to the food pyramid.  You’ll be helping them to develop an awareness of nutrition that can lead to good eating habits and a healthy future!

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