What’s for Lunch?

lunch

Photo source: www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au

The morning rush hits. You are running out the door. What did you forget? Lunch! Having a balanced lunch is important. For children, lunch provides energy to stay alert in class. For children and adults, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours) promote a healthy metabolism and allow the body to use calories more efficiently.

Make it a family affair: Allow children to be involved in the preparation process; involvement in meal planning will pique your child’s interest in food and makes it more likely they will eat their own creations. A good rule of thumb for parents is to provide the proper portions of healthy choices and allow the child to prepare them to their liking (within reason of course!). Remember, most elementary school-aged children are allowed a mid-morning snack, which can be included in the preparation process.

Make lunch a priority by planning ahead. Here are some fun mix and match sandwich ideas for the whole family!

Pick a base: Whole grain English muffin, Oat bread, Whole grain pita, Whole grain wrap, or a Whole wheat bun.

Tip: When looking at grains, make sure the word “whole” is labeled first on the ingredient list.

Pack the protein: Sliced turkey, chicken or ham, tuna, natural peanut, almond butter.

Spread Savvy: Add Avocado, hummus, low fat cheese, pesto, mustard, sliced pickles.

Vary your veggies: Sliced cabbage, lettuce, tomato, red or green peppers, and cucumbers are yummy sandwich additions.

Don’t forget the fruit: Sliced pears, apples, or pineapple, 1-2 clementines, or a banana. If you have the time, children might enjoy cinnamon or peanut butter (if allowed at school) on apples, and pears. Clementines are often better received when kept cold.

A fun additions: Trail mix with almond, walnuts, dried fruit, coconut flakes and sunflower seeds. Older children might enjoy fruit and low fat cheese kabobs. Make your own veggie dip with low fat Greek yogurt mixed with natural dry ranch or onion seasoning packet,

Skylar’s tip: Pack sandwich the night before and keep cut up fruits and veggies in the fridge that can be quickly portioned.

Reference: http://www.jhsph.edu/offices-and-services/student-affairs/Lunch