Back-To-School Lunch Basics
Is it back-to-school time already?! Well, that means it is also back to making lunches for the kids.
by Jenn Gashinski, RD
Hopefully lunch making is not a dreaded task but, if it is, the following tips can help you along. Set your child up for success as children who are nourished throughout the day can concentrate longer and perform better at school. By the time your child goes from kindergarten to graduating high school they will have likely eaten over 2400 school lunches!
What to include in a healthy lunch:
A healthy, balanced meal includes a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk and alternatives as well as protein rich foods. A school lunch should be no exception.
5 lunch ideas … beyond the sandwich:
- Homemade Lunch Kit: Whole grain crackers, sliced cheddar cheese, hard-boiled egg, carrots with dip, apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon.
- Burrito: Whole grain tortilla with leftover seasoned ground beef or black beans, lettuce & peppers, shredded cheese and salsa in a separate container.
- Mediterranean: Whole wheat pita bread stuffed with hummus, chicken/beans, feta cheese, lettuce, cucumbers and tzatziki. Add grapes on the side.
- Asian Bento Box: In separate containers place edamame beans or strips of teriyaki chicken leftovers, cubed cooked sweet potato, strips of red peppers and sliced cucumber for a finger friendly lunch. Add a milk or milk alternative beverage.
- Pizza: Whole wheat pita bread, shredded cheese, vegetable toppings, leftover chicken cubes and pizza sauce on the side (let child put together at lunch).
Don’t forget fluids!
Kids need to keep hydrated during the day. Best choices are water, milk, or a milk alternative beverage. Try to limit 100% fruit juice to no more than ½ cup per day and avoid any juices with the words fruit cocktail or punch in them.